Lecturer and former state senator Terry Gipson has returned to politics in a very intense example of employing the principles he teaches in public relations, persuasion, social media and argumentation class: running for Governor of New York State in 2018.
Gipson has created a campaign committee, Gipson for New York, indicating the first steps in a gubernatorial run in 2018. Currently the campaign is an exploratory campaign to see if Gipson for NY can garner enough community support to win a primary next September and enough financial support to drive the operation.
During the last three months Gipson and his team have been touring the state looking for supporters who share their values of open elections, easier access to healthcare, fair tax laws, infrastructural improvement, affordable housing and other progressive ideals.
Gipson said that his campaign has resonated with a lot of political groups who were former Bernie Sanders supporters.
“There are a lot of these groups all over the state,” he said. “They are continuing to keep that flame alive and put their energy into getting people elected who share those progressive ideas.”
Gipson began his career in politics as a Village of Rhinebeck Board member shortly after moving there and starting Gipson Design Group. He decided to run for Village Board because of the sidewalks in Rhinebeck.
During his time in Rhinebeck, Gipson walked everywhere and noticed that a lot of the sidewalks were in poor condition. He started going to Village Board meetings to express his concerns and noticed that infrastructural improvements were not a priority for the current board members.
In order to accomplish the things he wanted done and to improve community-government relationships, Gipson decided to run for office.
“When you make an investment in a community you start paying attention to it in a way that you don’t normally do so,” he said. “I realized that in order to make the changes I wanted to see I was going to have to run for office, there was no other way.”
During his time as a Village Board member, Rhinebeck worked to rebuild the Village. Improvements were made to the sidewalks, the garbage collection system, a new police station was built and various other infrastructural improvements were made.
Former Deputy Mayor Wayne Rifenburgh said that he had a great experience working with Gipson on the Rhinebeck Village Board.
“He was very professional, knowledgeable, hard-working, community-minded and I enjoyed our time together on the board,” he said. “He was great to work with.”
As a member of the Board, Gipson had to communicate with state representatives in order to gain a lot of financial support necessary to fund these various projects. Again motivated by a passion for the public service aspect of being involved in government, Gipson’s interest in the State Senate grew until he decided to run and won during his second term on the Rhinebeck Village Board.
Gipson believes that now is the time for state government to step up and return to serving the people.
“Washington D.C. is really getting out of the business of governing,” he said. “They’re handing more power over to corporations, they’re taking away power from the states, they’re handing more power over to the wealthy donors; the people are really just being left behind. State government is really the only place we can expect to find the protections that we need to live a safe and healthy life.”
Gipson believes that the current state legislators do not govern according to it’s significantly blue leaning population and presence of New York City which has more billionaires living in it than any other city in the world. Gipson said that New York has the progressive voting base to get things done and believes that there is no excuse to not fund infrastructural projects.
“The idea that this state cannot raise enough revenue to pay for the infrastructure, to pay for public schools, to invest in healthcare is unacceptable,” he said. “It’s only because we have a tax system in place that benefits the uber-wealthy and prevents them from having to pay their fair share when the rest of us are, it’s not fair.”
Gipson said that 2018 is the right time for him personally. He has the experience in office and the campaign experience paired with youth and a desire to lead his state and put together a grassroots campaign that is based on what the people want.
“You have to be energetic, you have to be committed to what people want,” he said. “It’s a monumental task and an exhausting experience. You have to be strong and it’s a good time for me to do that.”
Gipson added that he wants to capitalize on his recent experience in office to make New York State the progressive leader of the country. According to Gipson, there are more Democrats and financial resources in New York than California and Washington states, some of the current progressive leaders.
“We all have a role to play in trying to make our government work better,” he said. “We all have to figure out what we can do in our way in order to make the contribution that we can make. I believe at this particular time this is the contribution that I can make.”