I'm the Prospect's new "states" reporter, based in Austin, Texas. On this blog, I'll be reporting not only on the big news coming out of state capitals across the country but on the stories from small towns that connect to national debates. Given the fights over collective bargaining in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Indiana and the looming same-sex marriage showdown in Maryland, it's easy to see how state-level news warrants attention.
While Rick Perry campaigned in South Carolina Thursday, criticizing Mitt Romney's tenure at Bain while bragging about his own pro-business record, another controversial conservative governor was hanging out in Texas: Scott Walker. The Wisconsin governor, who sparked a firestorm last spring with his effort to eliminate collective-bargaining rights for state employees, keynoted a lunch at the Texas Public Policy Foundation's annual legislative orientation, held at the Hilton Hotel. Outside, a large crowd protested with signs supporting the effort to recall the polarizing Wisconsin chief executive.
If Texas Governor Rick Perry didn't get you intrigued when he announced his candidacy for president on Saturday -- well, you'd best brace yourself for a long primary season. You won't be able to ignore him for long. His speech at the RedState Gathering in Charleston was vintage Perry, alternating between hardline, take-no-prisoners rhetoric and the occasional aw-shucks grin. The guy's got charm and an uncanny ability to get a friendly crowd fired up. Saturday's speech got the Red Staters so wild that when Perry said the key phrase -- "I declare to you today as a candidate for president" -- he actually had to motion them to quiet down.