He spoke Thursday morning to a group of supporters at the Addison Airport.
Behind him was a C-130, the kind of plane he used to fly when he served in the Air Force. The words Perry for President were painted on the side. Perry is one of the few veterans in the 2016 campaign.
"The values learned on my family's cotton farm are timeless – the dignity of work, integrity of your word, responsibility to community, unbreakable bonds of family and duty to country. These are enduring values not the product of some idealistic past, but a touchstone of American life in our small town, in our largest cities, in our booming suburbs," he said.
He told his supporters, "We have the power" to project American strength and grow the economy.
"That is exactly why today I am running for presidency," he said.
Overnight Perry released a video outlining some of the broad themes of his campaign.
He said the country needs a president who will tell the American people the truth, who can bridge the partisan divide and who won't settle for a slow economic recovery.
SMU political science professor Cal Jillson said he does have a story to share with voters and many will find that compelling.
"Well, executive experience. He was 14 years governor of the second largest state in the country. He's got balanced budgets he can talk about. He's got job creation and the Texas miracle, the strong Texas economy. That's his calling card," Jillson said.
During Perry's time in office, one third of the new jobs in the United States were created in the state of Texas.
Four years ago Perry launched a presidential campaign as an instant front-runner. Then he flamed out just as fast, due to a stumbling debate performance in which he forgot the name of one of the federal agencies he wanted to close.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.