AUSTIN (KXAN) - Once a Democrat, now a Republican. Could some of Gov. Rick Perry's past come back to bite him in a presidential run?
Insiders say that decision won't come until at least mid-August, but already there's talk that even some conservatives might have reservations based on some of the choices Perry's made in his tenure as the state's top leader.
Last year's 2010 Back to Basics PAC anti-Perry television ad is one example. It begins with the words: "It was a controversial new drug, used for sexually transmitted disease, but Rick Perry ordered all 11- and 12-year-old girls to be vaccinated with it."
It was among a string of ads targeting Perry during his re-election campaign last year. It blasted his executive order to vaccinate sixth-grade girls against HPV, a sexually transmitted disease that causes cervical cancer.
"This is not really in the definition of small government, government out of your lives. This is an extremely intrusive thing," said the group's Analiese Kornely. "It's something that's going to be a big problem for him, as people start finding out more about it, I think."
Now the question: Will socially conservative voters and fiscally conservative groups be able to look beyond reminders like that?
"If that's all that conservatives or anyone has to throw at Gov. Perry, then they don't have much to throw at him," said Peggy Venable of Americans for Prosperity.
However, tea party supporters are already criticizing Perry for a host of immigration issues – everything from failing to push through a sanctuary city ban this session to signing the state's version of the DREAM Act giving children of illegal immigrants access to in-state college tuition.
Plus, there's his backing of the never-created Trans Texas Corridor. Limited government supporters hated the idea of a a system of toll roads taking away 81,000 acres of land.
Still, some say these issues aren't the ones that will rise to the surface, especially in an era where the nation's eyes are on the economy.
"Jobs will be the number-one issue this election cycle, and certainly Texas and Gov. Perry have a good track record when it comes to job creation," said Venable.
The city of Kokomo has purchased a former steel plant site that has undergone years of environmental cleanup and plans to use the land to try to reduce damage from future flooding.
A northwest Indiana county council has passed a resolution stating its opposition to a proposed 47-mile tollway would Interstate 65 with I-55 south of Chicago.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Rural and volunteer fire departments in 14 southern Indiana counties are getting a boost from a share of more than $314,000 generated by the sale of trees felled in some of the state's forests.