Ross Perot had big impact on nation

H. Ross Perot died last week. The 89-year-old self-made Texas billionaire is best known for his 1992 run as an independent candidate for president. With a grassroots organization, a big collection of pie charts, a talent for folksy expressions like “That giant sucking sound you hear is jobs going to Mexico!” and $63 million of his own money, he got 19 percent of the vote. Republicans blamed him for President George H.W. Bush’s loss to Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton.

Perot never achieved anything like that success in another run four years later, and his attempt to form the Reform Party faltered, but not before establishing the idea of independent, grass-roots campaigns that thumbed their noses at the established political parties. That spirit helped get Jesse Ventura elected governor of Minnesota, and some political analysts connect Donald Trump’s election to the presidency as an offshoot of that anti-establishment ideal.

Perot made his billions with Electronic Data Systems through hard work, vision, salesmanship and the willingness to do the jobs that IBM and other big hitters didn’t want to do.

He was a boss who cared about his employees, even to the point of hiring a commando team to get two EDS executives jailed in Iran out of prison. He was a staunch supporter of military veterans, POWs and MIAs.

He was a truly unique individual who started small, dreamed big and changed this country in many ways.


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