FORT WORTH -- Gov. Rick Perry has kicked off his unofficial farewell tour to Texas politics by bashing Washington during a well-received speech at the state Republican convention.
The longest-serving governor in Texas history focused more on the future and national issues than his political legacy at home.
Though he isn't seeking re-election in November, Perry appears poised to mount a second presidential run for 2016.
He told thousands of delegates gathered in Fort Worth that grassroots conservatives have already "changed Texas for the better" and urged them to do the same for America.
The loudest cheers came when Perry called the new health care law "a failed scheme" and said the federal government shouldn't be allowed to trample states' rights.
Perry also said the Obama administration had left America "wandering in the economic wilderness."
Thousands of Republicans are arriving at the Fort Worth Convention Center Thursday morning for the state GOP Convention. Land Commissioner nominee George P. Bush also made opening remarks.
Later Thursday in breakout sessions, Republicans plan to discuss ways to reach out to "urban" voters. They will also reveal a preview of legislation that might be introduced during the next legislative session in January.
Then on Friday morning, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz addresses attendees. Afterwards, delegates will discuss the future of public schools, Republican members of the Texas Congressional Delegation will hold their own session, and the party will also talk about recruitment efforts for minorities.
Gubernatorial nominee Greg Abbott, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul and U.S. Sen. John Cornyn all speak Friday afternoon at 2 p.m.
Those attending will likely notice crowds of open carry supporters. Gun activists will have a restricted area where they can protest for Second Amendment rights.
The convention will also decide who represents Texas at the Republican National Convention. Delegates will be scouting Dallas next week for the 2016 event.
Go here for more information on the Texas GOP Convention.
The Texas Democratic Convention will be held at the end of June. News 8 will also have coverage of that event.