Terry Gipson, candidate for State Senate

Democratic candidate, appearing on the Democratic and Working Families ballot lines

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I am a homeowner in Rhinebeck, and currently serving in my second term as an elected Trustee on the Rhinebeck Village Board. In 2006, I started my own business, Gipson Design Group Inc., also located in Rhinebeck Village.

Born and raised in Tyler, Texas, I am proud of my family’s roots in farming. Encouraged to work hard and to be a self-starter, I put myself through school, graduating from Texas Tech with a BFA in 1987, and Penn State with an MFA in 1991. To do so, I worked as a landscaper, dishwasher, cook, carpenter, painter, cafeteria manager, and scenic and lighting designer.

What experience and/or training has prepared you to serve in the position you seek?
Over the course of my 20-year career, I’ve established a track record of providing creative solutions to complex problems. Working with diverse groups of people and within budgets and deadlines, I have been a leader in my field.

As a Senator, I will work hard to use these skills to work with anyone, regardless of party, who has a good idea to move our state forward. And, just as the needs of my clients have been my top priority during my career and with my own business, the needs of my constituents will be my top priority in Albany, and back home in my district.

I look forward to working with the Governor and Legislature to help the people of New York, by creating new jobs, raising the minimum wage, protecting women’s rights, improving public education and reducing the property taxes that are crippling our middle class. We also need campaign finance reform and real solutions to eradicating unfunded mandates.

I am running for this office because I believe my multi-faceted background will be a great asset for pursuing an aggressive agenda in Albany. Many others agree, and that’s why I have received the endorsements of U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer, Citizen Action of New York, Planned Parenthood Advocates of New York and NARAL Pro-Choice New York, the Sierra Club and the NY League of Conservation Voters, NYSUT and PEF, CWA 1120 and SEIU 200 United, and many, many others.

A vote for you is a vote for your party to gain/keep the majority in a closely divided State Senate. Why should voters support your party’s control of the State Senate?
I am a Democrat. That said, my top priority in Albany is to represent the interests of the people of this district, here in the Hudson Valley. A vote for me isn’t a vote for my party’s control of the Senate, it’s a vote for a senator who will tirelessly work to change the direction of our region’s economy, to make sure affordable health care is available to all New Yorkers, to improve our education system and how we fund it, and to protect the rights of all the people in our district, not just the powerful few.

A vote for me is a vote to bring a sense of fairness to how our state government does its business; from its tax structure to making sure the interests of Main Street have as strong a voice in Albany as Wall Street, to offering equal opportunities for a good education, no matter your background. I will partner with the governor and the entire Legislature to fight for these important issues, no matter which party is in control of the Senate.

Local property taxes (school taxes) are a constant source of complaint, especially in the towns of Red Hook, Rhinebeck and Milan. How do you propose we go about reducing/reforming property taxes in NY?
Last session, the Governor and the Legislature put a property tax cap in place. It was an effort to stop the bleeding, but it has it allowed the Legislature to simply dodge the issue while forcing school districts and local governments to make the hard decisions.

I want to LOWER property taxes, not just cap them. We can do that only by changing the way we fund our education system. The present system is a 19th century solution to a 20th century problem. In our earlier history, property ownership was a pretty accurate barometer of wealth, but since then, the growth of the middle class has made home ownership available to millions of hard working people who aren’t wealthy by any means. Now, in the 21st century, the downturn in property values coupled with stagnant wages has made rising property taxes the engine for economic decay and the destruction of our communities.

I want to finally get this done by working with the governor and the Legislature to develop a funding mechanism that is based on peoples’ ability to pay, not simply because they own a modest home. We can eliminate our school property tax altogether and replace it with a fair and just income-based solution, one in which everyone pays something. We can’t continue to lose our friends and neighbors to other states with better solutions.

Would you support/sponsor legislation to restrict access to or ban abortion in NY?
I am pro-choice and support Roe vs. Wade. I will not waver on either of those positions.

History has shown that if we provide the proper health education to our children and give women access to quality health care, abortion rates FALL. If you want to stop abortions, stop the need for abortions by fully funding those programs.

Would you have voted for/did you vote for the same‐sex marriage law that passed the state senate in 2011? Why or why not?
I would have voted for Marriage Equality for New York in 2009 and 2011. I am the only candidate in this race who can make that statement.

Our entire history as a nation can be charted by how we have removed discrimination from our laws. From slavery in the 1860’s to women’s suffrage in the early 1900’s to the civil rights in the 1960’s to the gay rights movement today. Who would have thought we would even be having these discussions anymore? We cannot go backwards.

Fighting for equal pay for equal work and ending gender discrimination are just two of the equality laws we need to pass and put behind us. As Senator, I will support any legislation that promotes equality, provides for social justice, and taps into what has made America great; it’s diversity.

What other issues do you see facing our state or the 106th assembly district and your solution?
I am a small business owner in a creative field. We need creative thinking to keep our remaining small businesses here, and to make it possible for new ones to open, to create good, local jobs in the process and help our middle class to thrive.

Towards that end, I want to bring renewable energy to the Hudson Valley. Not just the energy itself, but the technology, manufacturing, and research jobs that comes with it. In fact, I want to our region to become the “Renewable Energy Capital of the World.” We will be bringing more great jobs to the region that will in turn boost property values and spur the economy…AND be great for the planet.

I say, “Let’s get to work!”

Why should voters pick you on Election Day?
We are at a crossroads. I say we follow the course that works by making our government an engine for investment, an example of fairness and a champion of opportunity. When we release the creative energy of the people of New York, there is no problem we can’t solve and no future we can’t build.

We have the opportunity to follow the path toward a stronger, smarter and healthier New York by electing people who have bold ideas, who have the energy to act on those ideas and who aren’t afraid to lead.

I’m asking for your vote on November 6. We have lots of work to do. Let’s get started.

Gipson may be reached via e-mail at Terry@TerryGipsonNY.com, online at www.terrygipson.com, by mail at PO Box 55, Rhinebeck, NY 12572 or via phone at 845-891-3684.

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