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TFRW Woman of Distinction – July 2023


Jimmy Carter’s presidency lit an intense interest in politics for Connie. At the time, there were no GOP state-wide office holders in Texas. In 1980, Connie walked her neighborhood in support of Ronald Reagan for President and realized that assisting in block-walks and phone-banks was a way of making a difference. She began volunteering for most county-wide and state-wide campaigns (too many to list!) as well as becoming active with the Republican Women of Gregg County (RWGC) and the Gregg County GOP Executive Committee.

From 1986 to 1992, Connie served as RWGC’s secretary and as its Vice-Chair from 1994 to 1997. She served as Election Judge in her precinct and as a Delegate to GOP state conventions. In 1990 she was named Gregg County GOP Volunteer of the Year and Senatorial District 1 Volunteer of the Year.

Connie served with TFRW as District Director for SD 1, Deputy President, Membership Vice President, and in 1996 (her last year on the Executive Board), she was Editor of TFRW’s Texas Star newsletter.

In June 1997, Connie took a job as state-wide scheduler for Rick Perry’s successful 1998 campaign for Lt. Governor and in 2004, she bested an opponent in the Republican Primary for Gregg County Clerk, an office she served till her retirement in December of 2018.

As of 2021, she has again become politically active, circulating petitions for Supreme Court candidates and signing on as Campaign Treasurer for John Moore for Gregg County District Attorney. She is now serving RWGC as Vice President in charge of Membership as well as serving on the Early Vote Ballot Board (EVBB) for the Primary Election.

In July, Governor Greg Abbott appointed Connie as Commissioner to the Sabine River Authority Compact. This appointment follows two previous appointments she held – Governor’s Commission for Women under Gov. George W. Bush, and Sabine River Authority under Gov. Rick Perry.

For leisure, working in her yard is something Connie finds both rewarding and relaxing. Her husband, Jerry Gipson, is a retired corporate pilot who began his flying career with the U.S. Air Force piloting an F-4 Phantom during the Vietnam War. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for a particularly difficult bombing mission over North Vietnam the night of July 4, 1972, and retired as a Captain with 11 years of service.

Her son Shannon Wade, who graduated from Pine Tree High School in 1990, is the owner-operator of a private ambulance service, Patriot EMS, in northwest Houston. He and his three children reside in Spring, Texas.