Terry Gipson comes from a long line of farmers and laborers that encouraged him to be a self-starter, and taught him to appreciate the values of family, hard work, and determination. Terry and his wife Michelle live in Rhinebeck, where he was elected to two terms as a Village Trustee before being elected to the state senate in November of 2012.
Terry has always exhibited an entrepreneurial spirit. He started his first business, Terry’s Lawn & Landscape, while in high school in Tyler, Texas. He worked his way through college and graduate school as a landscaper, dishwasher, cook, carpenter, painter, cafeteria manager, and scenic and lighting designer.
In 2006, Terry started Gipson Design Group Inc. in his basement. He understands just how challenging it is to do business in New York. That’s why as a senator he introduced a creative initiative called “Hire NY”. This program would provide zero-interest loans to small businesses, with less than five employees, encouraging them to invest directly in job creation by hiring New York residents in their local communities. To further this effort, he successfully advocated for the inclusion of Dutchess and Putnam counties in the 0% manufacturing tax plan passed in the 2014-15 state budget. His senate office helped secure millions of dollars in grants for new job-creating enterprises throughout the Hudson Valley. He continues to advocate for more manufacturing jobs and lower utility costs by embracing alternative energy.
Most of Terry’s professional career has been spent in the entertainment design industry, providing him with extensive experience in creative problem solving. For 25 years, he has worked collaboratively with not-for-profits and corporations to design a wide variety of entertainment venues, live shows and marketing exhibits. Prior to starting his own business, he served as Designer Director for MTV Networks, where he led a department in providing creative solutions for Nickelodeon, MTV, CMT and Comedy Central, among others. Terry has a Bachelor’s of Fine Art from Texas Tech University, and graduated from Penn State with a Master’s of Fine Art in 1991.
Terry is an Eagle Scout and the great outdoors has always been a part of his family’s life. His parents and grandparents taught him how to hunt, fish, and to appreciate the beauty of nature. During his senate term, he sponsored the Hudson Valley legislation that became law designating Wappinger Creek as an inland waterway. This act provides the opportunity for the 13 surrounding municipalities to apply for state and federal funding for waterfront revitalization, storm water treatment, and wastewater management, among other projects.
And it was Senator Gipson’s office that organized a strategic campaign to make the State Senate understand the urgency of helping victims with Lyme disease. Because of Terry and his staff’s perseverance, the state has begun the long overdue process of providing funding for research and passing laws to help the victims of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.
Terry understands that protecting our environment is vital to maintaining our quality of life and our robust tourism industry. That’s why he supported a $9 million increase to the Environmental Protection Fund and a $90 million investment in NYS Parks funding in the 2014-15 state budget. In recognition of his commitment to environmental conservation, Terry received a 100% positive rating from Environmental Advocates of New York for two consecutive years.
Building stronger communities is the cornerstone of Terry’s commitment to public service. His senate office provided extensive support to Veterans and their families, and Terry hosted an annual Veterans & Families Fair that connected them to a variety of support organizations. Terry is an advocate for our families and our senior citizens, and he has worked with local organizations to support the prevention of elder abuse and to help those families that have been victimized by the startling increase in heroin and opiate addiction.
As a homeowner, he knows that property taxes are the largest financial burden facing our hardworking families. That’s why as your senator, he introduced new legislation to provide comprehensive mandate relief to our local governments, and, more critically, to find alternatives to the way in which we fund our public education system. By doing so, Terry believes we can provide greater equity for taxpayers, as well as students, without punishing property and business owners.
Terry is a staunch supporter of public schools and understands their importance in inspiring a new generation of job creators. That’s why he continues to be a vocal advocate for more individualization and less standardization in our public school curriculum. Terry led the fight to ban Pearson, the foreign-for-profit testing company from New York State. He believes our economy will be stronger when every child in every zip code has access to a high quality public school education.
Terry Gipson is Pro-Choice, an advocate for equal rights and for raising the minimum wage. He is dedicated to helping families through the prevention of child abuse and domestic violence, and it was his advocacy and determination that led the state senate to approve a new Family Court judge position for Dutchess County this year. This will reduce the wait time for those families in urgent need of court services, decreasing the stress on children, parents and grandparents.
Following a tradition started by his grandfather, Terry has served as a volunteer firefighter, and both he and Michelle are widely involved in community projects and civic organizations throughout the Hudson Valley, including the Kiwanis Club of Poughkeepsie. Terry is an Adjunct Professor at Marist College and has used his skills to help local not-for-profit organizations. In addition, he works as a consultant in the entertainment design and public relations fields.
Terry holds the honor of being the first Democratic state senator elected in Dutchess and Putnam Counties since Franklin D. Roosevelt held the seat in 1913. He proudly represented 41st District for a two-year term through December 2014, and he remains a vocal advocate for improving our state government and building a stronger Hudson Valley to meet the needs of the 21st century.