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Perry stumps Iowa again

BY QUENTIN MISIAG | JULY 21, 2014 5:00 AM

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ALGONA, Iowa — Citing rampant problems from new waves of Central American immigrants flooding to the United States, Texas Gov. Rick Perry promised a crowd of several hundred July 19 that if the federal government fails to tighten its grip on border security, his state would.

“We know how to secure the border. If the federal government will not do its duty, then I suggest that the state of Texas will,” Perry told approximately 300 state Republicans at the 2014 North Iowa Conservative Event dinner, before being met with resounding applause and standing ovations.

Adorned in a slim black suit, off-gray pants and his signature black-rimmed glasses, the 64-year-old Lone Star state leader, who has been long rendered as a potential 2016 Republican candidate to seek the next presidency, said he was visiting Iowa mostly to back Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst and five-term Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad.

His 15-minute address inside Algona High School signified his fourth visit to the state in eight months.

Although renewed media attention has come over the hotly contested topic of U.S.-Mexico border control in recent weeks, Perry said that topic of national security is not a new challenge, but rather a new dilemma.

Much of the recent immigrant influx to the United States, he said, is in coordination with Mexican drug cartels that have swept control of the country.

Since 2008, Perry said approximately 642,000 criminal acts related to Mexican drug activity have hit Texas alone, including 3,000 homicides.

Diane Jorgenson, 63, of Ledyard and Dennis Valen, 60, an Emmet County resident said the rest of the country could look to Perry as a true leader with enviable accomplishments.

Both said the need to better secure the U.S.-Mexico border among the three most pressing national issues.

“If this man does something with the borders and the illegals coming in, he’s going to have a bigger following among the American people,” Jorgenson said.

But border patrol was just one of the several jabs to the Obama administration Perry and fellow Republican leaders took aim at.

The state of the nation’s economy, the Affordable Care Act and taxes were high on a long list of Republican talking points.

Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds told The Daily Iowan that Perry’s second visit to the state in the last month served as a symbol that people residing even outside of Iowa trust the state’s Republican ticket.

Perry, who is not running for reelection this year and has been governor of Texas since 2000, was in Iowa this weekend on a two-day, two-city outing.

The Saturday evening appearance served as a precursor for a second showing in northern Iowa, where he appeared at a luncheon in Clear Lake.

Still, Perry’s showing did not come without criticism, even from fellow Republicans.

Marty Daggett of Forest City said she was “sorry and concerned” for Perry and his fellow Texans given areas of turmoil plaguing the state.

Despite a speech designed to be encouraging at a time in the nation’s history when things are not encouraging, she said she wished he could’ve provided a question and answer period before departing at 7 p.m.

“We have a lot of questions that haven’t been answered,” she said of Perry and national bureaucrats.

Among her chief concerns, she said, is how Central Americans know they can come across the U.S.-Mexican border.

Sporting Steve King and Branstad supporter stickers, Rick Wicks, 67, a registered Democrat from Sweden who owns a home in Okoboji, said he slid into the event to snag a glimpse at the opposing party.

Wicks, a representative with Democrats Abroad, the official arm of the Democratic Party for citizens living outside the U.S. and its territories, said much of Perry’s speech was reminiscent of political slogans that he continues to hear from the Republican side of the political aisle.

“I saw a lot of distraction and not enough real policy,” Wicks said.

It is unclear as to what the rest of Iowa’s stance is on Perry and at least one other Texas Republican political figurehead.

A poll released June 23 by Quinnipiac University left out Perry and Sen. Ted Cruz when it asked residents to rank potential candidates for the 2016 presidential trail.

However, Perry still maintained optimism for being granted a second political chance among Iowans, after faltering in the 2012 cycle.

Asked by one reporter if Iowans and the greater American public would welcome Perry's return to the presidential race, Perry smiled a wide grin.

"I think America is all about giving people a second chance," he said.


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