State Representative Justin Harris (R-West Fork) has officially retracted his endorsement of Texas Governor Rick Perry for the Republican nomination for president.
In a statement on his Facebook page, Harris cited Perry’s comments about those who oppose in-state tuition for illegal immigrants as “heartless” as a key factor in his decision:
I was asked by Perry’s Campaign in Austin, Texas, if I planned on endorsing him. This came right after Perry made the statement that you are heartless if you do not believe illegal immigrants should receive in-state tuition. I let them know that I fully disagreed and took a lot of heat for the AR HB 2008 from Democrats, and did not appreciate being called heartless by the Texas Governor. I told them that at this point, “I am out, but I will think about it”. I then received two phone calls, one was to hear an apology from the Gov., and the other an apology from his campaign people. I then watched, Governor Perry take back his statement. With a promise of an apology and a word from campaign staff that he was truly sorry, I gave my OK. I have done research and found thousands of illegal residents received in-state tuition in Texas. Which, no surprise to anybody, I am against.
Harris also says he is more interested in doing the right thing than the politically expedient thing:
I have been told, by particular persons on the list, that I will appear wishy washy. I think I have shown conservatives and the people of Arkansas, that I am an independent thinker. Remember, I was the only vote not to seat then State Representative-Elect Fred Smith, who later had to resign due to a felony. It was my first vote in the House, before the regular session, and it was lonely. I would rather be lonely, and do the right thing, than to have people around me that only have their interests at heart.
I do not intend to cast judgment on whether or not the initial endorsement was right or wrong, or whether this retraction is right or wrong, but in more general terms, I will say that doing the right thing is very lonely and Rep. Harris has shown the courage to follow his convictions–only countless issues–regardless of the political consequences. We need more like him in Little Rock.