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Water is the lifeblood of every community. Republican Charles Perry â€” who has served in the Texas House of Representatives (District 83) since 2010 â€” declared water to be his cornerstone issue during his stop in Nolan County Tuesday.
"Water is the common theme in the 51 counties (which comprise Senate District 28)," Perry said during an interview with the Reporter. "Sweetwater is a great example. Oak Creek Reservoir is dry."
Perry believes upgrades to infrastructure and modern technology will be the components most likely to help alleviate the region's water woes.
"Replacing leaky infrastructure is one thing, R.O. (reverse osmosis) is another," said Perry, a 1980 Sweetwater High School graduate. "Desalination has become much more affordable. Several cities adjacent to the (Senate) district have implemented desalination.
"Water is not going to be cheap," Perry continued. "But we need to pursue it. I hope water continues to be a top priority."
The hot-button topic of immigration is also a concern for Perry. If elected, he promises to take the issue all the way to Washington, D.C. â€” even threatening a lawsuit if the federal government refuses to reimburse Texas for what Perry believes is a detriment to the Texas economy.
"We're doing everything we can on a state level that the federal government allows, jurisdictionally," Perry explained. "We're faced with a dilemma, (drug) cartel activity is pushing people into the United States and the federal government isn't doing anything about it.
"It's expensive to deploy the National Guard," Perry said. "It's not the long-term solution. The main thing we can do now is make the cartels miserable. And it's not just cartels; we don't know who's coming over. There's been everything from radical Islamists and people affiliated with Al-Qaeda."
Tackling the border difficulties will take time and cooperation across the board, but the Senate may be where progress is made, Perry said.
"Serving in the Senate, you get to solve big problems," he said.
Revamping entitlements and eliminating the "welfare state" would serve as deterrents to would-be immigrants, according to Perry.
Unlike some of his opponents â€” which includes former Sweetwater Mayor Greg Wortham and former George W. Bush aide Jodey Arrington â€” Perry is relatively new to the political scene.
Prior to winning his seat in the Texas House, he was a certified public accountant for more than 30 years.
It's this connection to the middle class and rural communities of West Texas which he says strengthens his commitment to serving District 28.
"I am not a career politician," Perry wrote on his official website. "I have worked in the private sector my entire life ... As the cities continue to grow, rural West Texas is losing power and seniority down in Austin. Senate District 28 needs an experienced conservative fighter that is willing to roll up his sleeves and get straight to work for the people of rural West Texas to protect our property rights, agriculture, water and economy."