Texas Governor Rick Perry isn't exactly known for being green. When his state was facing record droughts that were causing Texans and the Texas economy tremendous harm, Perry didn't mention climate change at all. Instead, he called for an official day of prayer. Furthermore, despite running for the Republican nomination for US President on a very "free-market" agenda in 2012, Perry didn't speak up and push for Tesla's right to sell vehicles in Texas recently when the state's auto dealership association worked to keep Tesla stores illegal in the state.
But one or two things seem to have finally sparked Rick Perry to action. Perry, donning some rather hipster glasses, said on Fox Business Network this week that he thinks auto dealerships should be more open to letting Tesla into the state, and he even went so far as to say that the auto dealership model is "antiquated."
"I think it's time for Texas to have a very open conversation about this, talk about the pros and the cons. I'm gonna think that the pros of allowing this to happen are gonna outweigh the cons."
No, it's not April 1st yet. This is for real.
the obvious point to make here is that Perry wants Tesla to choose Texas for the company's $5 billion battery factory (aka gigafactory). Texas is one of four finalists that Tesla is considering for the gigafactory. We've already written about some of Arizona's efforts to woo Tesla, and I'm sure there are considerable efforts underway in New Mexico and Nevada as well. But Governor Perry is clearly eager to fight for the manufacturing facility.
However, aside from the shiny possibility of an estimated 6,500 jobs and a progressive card in the governor's pocket if he decides to run for president again (he said in the same interview that he wasn't ruling that out), perhaps Chris Christie's major Tesla flub in New Jersey is also on Perry's mind. After witnessing that colossal fail, perhaps Perry is thinking a swing in the other direction will do him (and perhaps even his political party) well.
Of course, Christie and Perry could very well be competing for the GOP presidential nomination in a couple years.
Furthermore, 86% of Texans polled in 2013 said they thought Tesla should be allowed to sell directly to consumers and "bypass dealership regulations." When you're a politician, it's generally a good idea to stay on the side of popular opinion.
Check out the video on Fox Business to see the full clip of Rick Perry talking about Tesla.