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A Republican, he was elected Lieutenant Governor of Texas in 1998 and assumed the governorship in December 2000 when then-Governor George W.Bush resigned to become President of the United States.In a 1989 interview, he said that "I was probably a bit of a free spirit, not particularly structured real well for life outside of a military regime, I would have not lasted at Texas Tech or the University of Texas.I would have hit the fraternity scene and lasted about one semester." In the early 1970s, Perry interned during several summers with the Southwestern Company, as a door-to-door book salesman."I count my time working for Dortch Oldham [president of the Southwestern Company] as one of the most important formative experiences of my life", Perry said in 2010."There is nothing that tests your commitment to a goal like getting a few doors closed in your face." He said that "Mr.
Bush, Rove raised million to raise Perry's profile, "while tarnishing the name of Jim Hightower" resulting in Perry's name becoming a "household name in Texas—and Hightower's name synonymous with corruption".
His father, a Democrat, was a long-time Haskell County commissioner and school board member. Perry graduated from Paint Creek High School in 1968.
Perry has said that his interest in politics probably began in November 1961, when his father took him to the funeral of U. Upon graduation from high school, Perry attended Texas A&M University where he was a member of the Corps of Cadets and the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity.
During 1990, Hightower's office was embroiled in an FBI investigation into corruption and bribery.
Three aides were convicted in 1993 of using public funds for political fundraising, although Hightower himself was not found to be involved in the wrongdoings.