Earlier today, I took part in a conference call with Governor Rick Perry of Texas, who is concluding a trip to the UK and especially Israel to encourage foreign investment in Texas. Perry also officially opened a new Texas A&M facility in Nazareth with Israeli President Shimon Peres, and spoke at length about the shared interests on energy and water management of Texas and Israel. With Perry still being mentioned as a potential candidate for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, a foreign tour helps to build an argument that the four-term governor will be ready to handle foreign policy, perhaps more than some of his potential competitors.
The rest are my verbatim notes. Items within quote marks are verbatim quotes, while everything else is paraphrase.
Perry offered a quick statement at the start. The “very productive and historic” trip allowed Perry to spread the word about Texas’ business-friendly environment. Perry launched Texas A&M International branch in Nazareth with President Shimon Peres today. The Nazareth branch aims to “move the peace process forward” by promoting understanding between the populations of the region. This is Perry’s fourth trip to Israel as Governor; the relationship will make a stronger Texas and a stronger Israel. He also met with Netanyahu, and ministers of energy, finance, and “a host of executives” from private-sector firms. “All of the conversations have been encouraging,” especially on energy and water issues. Perry says both Israel and Texas have similar issues on water, and both have to stay cutting-edge about fresh-water resources.
In the UK, Perry met with a number of officials, including one involved in climate control. The trip underscores Texas’ power as a global economic power. Texas has conducted $265 billion in international trade, which is larger than the GDP of some nations. Samsung, Toyota, and Apple are investing in Texas.
The countries that succeed in the future will be those who “embrace competition” and free-market economics. Israel can now export up to 40% of its new natural-gas production, which will create blue-collar jobs for Israelis and strengthen the energy markets around the world. Texas wants to partner with Israel on those efforts, and Perry believes that this will create even more jobs for Texans too.
- What role did you play in Texas A&M expansion and will you someday teach there? – Been in the loop since its inception. “Very usual growth” between Israel and Texas on this academic effort, part of a long partnership with Israel that keeps growing stronger with these initiatives. TA&M is in Qatar, operating an engineering school there, so Texas is becoming more influential throughout the region.
- How does Prop 6 fit into this partnership with Israel? – Very supportive of the legislation, and believes Texans will be “astute” and approve the water treatment facilities. The Israelis are experts at this. 86% of Israel’s water is re-used; in the US, it’s closer to 1%. The Israelis can help Texas develop that expertise.
- Have you heard much about the US efforts on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict [my question]? — Not much. Israeli officials stayed quiet on that issue, other than restate their long-held positions on the impasse. Texas can’t get involved in that for obvious reasons, but the A&M project can help to make peace more attainable by bringing people from all backgrounds to study together and learn from each other.