Perry Adds Policy Muscle to Likely 2016 Campaign

As he readies for a 2016 presidential campaign, former Gov. Rick Perry is officially bringing on board a policy team.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks at the Iowa Freedom Summit in Des Moines on Jan. 24, 2015.

*Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.

Former Gov. Rick Perry is adding some policy muscle to his likely 2016 presidential campaign, officially bringing on board a few of the wonks who have helped him bone up on the substance he has said was absent from his ill-fated 2012 bid. 

Perry's political action committee announced Monday it has hired three policy gurus, including Dallas economist Abby McCloskey and Avik Roy, a health care policy adviser to Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential bid. McCloskey will lead the policy shop, while Roy will serve as a senior adviser to RickPAC. Brett Fetterly, a graduate student at Johns Hopkins' School of Advanced International Studies, has been named the committee's foreign policy coordinator. 

McCloskey and Roy were among the policy experts Perry summoned last year to the Governor's Mansion for a series of briefings meant to bring him up to speed on the issues expected to factor into the 2016 race. McCloskey, who previously worked at the American Enterprise Institute, played a key role in organizing the sessions and emerged from the period as a likely candidate for a top policy position on the nascent campaign. 

Roy, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, is somewhat of a coup for Perry. Several potential candidates have been consulting him, and his hire adds to Perry's team one of the most respected voices on health care in Republican politics. Roy has pressed Republicans to offer their own proposals for health care reform instead of simply calling for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Perry said Monday that McCloskey and Roy have been particularly helpful as he strives to be more prepared for a potential second bid for the White House. In a statement, Perry said their "erudition on complex challenges will serve as great resources as I outline my vision for the future of our country."

Fetterly is a lesser-known name but an understudy of former State Department counselor Eliot Cohen and Eric Edelman, a former undersecretary of defense for policy. Cohen and Edelman, both former Romney advisers, lead the John Hay Initiative, a group of foreign policy and national security experts who have lent their expertise to White House hopefuls including Perry. 

Together, the hires bring some policy heft to a Perry team that already includes more than a dozen political staffers, many based in the early-voting states. He has recruited a mix of old and new faces as he prepares for a 2016 campaign that he has promised will be more thought-out than his shotgun entrance into the 2012 race.

Deirdre Delisi, Perry's former chief of staff, was the top policy adviser on his 2012 campaign. She is now a lobbyist in Austin.