Qualifications: Governor of Texas. Former lieutenant governor, agriculture commissioner, and state representative of Texas. Former Air Force C-130 pilot. Former marathon runner.
Unique Ideas: Eliminating earmarks. Making Congress a part-time job.

Editor’s Note: We asked each candidate to write a direct appeal to South Carolina voters. This is Rick Perry’s response.

The central question Republicans must consider in this election is whether we will settle for something less than we want, and something less than America needs.

I have great respect for my fellow Republican candidates. Each is sincere in the belief that Washington is broken, and any one of them would be an improvement upon our current president.

But if we replace a Democratic insider with a Republican insider, what will truly change in Washington besides the party in power?

This election, we don’t have to settle for Washington and Wall Street insiders who supported the bailouts and the Obamacare individual mandate. We don’t have to passively accept the edicts of an establishment that gave us earmarks, deficits, and a limitless debt ceiling. We don’t have to elect a candidate who would allow Iran to be armed at the expense of Israel, and ultimately America.

I offer voters a clear choice. I am the limited-government conservative in this campaign that will give Washington the complete overhaul it needs.

It starts by creating a part-time, citizen Congress like our founders intended. We should cut their pay in half, cut their time in Washington in half, and send them home to get jobs like everyone else. It’s time for members of Congress to start living under the laws they pass with the people they represent. And because a president must lead by example, we should also cut the president’s pay in half until the federal budget is balanced.

I will break Washington’s spending addiction and balance the budget with real spending reductions. My plan permanently bans corporate bailouts, because taxpayers should not have to pay exorbitant bonuses to the Wall Street executives who defrauded them. And it will get rid of earmarks, which have become the crack-cocaine of Congress.

Last week, President Obama provided a clear-cut example of Washington’s dysfunctional mentality. Five months after the disastrous debt ceiling hike, he asked Congress to raise the ceiling by another $1.2 trillion. And make no mistake: Some of our own leaders will view this as nothing more than another horse to trade.

This is why we cannot ask an insider to overhaul Washington — because insiders are born of a corrupt establishment culture.

Republicans can choose among various insiders who have spent 63 years in Congress driving up the debt and voting for earmarks, or pick a governor who has signed six balanced budgets, cut state spending, and worked with private sector leaders to create one million jobs.

I offer voters a chance not only to vote their conservative values, but to vote for a candidate with a proven record of putting those values to work in public office. I am a fiscal conservative who has cut state spending, passed sweeping lawsuit reforms, and worked to create the best job creation environment in the country. And I am a social conservative who has defended traditional marriage and protected unborn children, including signing a budget that defunded Planned Parenthood and shut down 12 of their clinics in Texas.

As an Air Force veteran, I know America is an exceptional land. Despite our present economic circumstances, I truly believe our best days are yet to come — if we elect the right leadership.

I am a conservative of conviction, not of convenience. The values that guide me are the same values I learned growing up on the family farm. I won’t back down from a fight, and I am not afraid to step on a few toes in order to overhaul Washington.

I will be the anti-establishment outsider who goes to Washington with a sense of purpose, and that purpose is to make Washington as inconsequential in your lives as I possibly can.