TFRW Woman of Distinction – May 2020
Dixie Clem is our TFRW Woman of Distinction for May 2020.
Dixie Clem has been honored with the title of “Queen Mother” of the Collin County Republican Party, and beginning in 1969 when she became executive director of the party, she truly was, and even today remains a very active participant in all things keeping Collin County and Texas Red!
Dixie Clem was born in Booneville, Arkansas, where she grew up and attended school. She met her husband, Emmitt, when they were both children when he was visiting his grandparents in the summers and attending church camps. When they were in high school, he moved permanently to her town and they fell in love as high school sweethearts, graduating from high school the same year. After graduation they were married and attended college together and after graduation, they moved to Plano, where her husband was employed by Plano ISD and she was a stay at home mom.
Dixie’s friends were owners of the Plano Star Courier, and she was asked to come to help them at their newspaper business and she later began full time employment covering all the social clubs in the county. It was through that connection that she was asked to manage the Richard Nixon presidential campaign in 1968. At the end of that campaign, she was asked to become Executive Director of Collin County Republican Party and she set out to “grow” the party. She knew there were conservatives in Collin County but they wouldn’t vote republican because the county was ruled by democrats at that time. She attended Commissioners Court every Monday for years to learn more about county government and drove around the entire county seeking conservatives. As a result of her steadfast determination, republican candidates began to file for office and Collin County Republican Party began to grow. For the next thirty years, Dixie spent countless hours working to increase the numbers of Republican elected officials, and at the time of her retirement in June, 1998, Republicans held 100% of the elected offices in the county, and that is still true today.
She has been a very active member of TFRW for many years, serving in most positions on the board. In the late ‘60’s Collin County had only one republican women’s club and that was Plano Republican Women. Dixie and her friends Gladys Harrington and Mary Beth Applewhite first joined that club, but in 1971 chose to start a new club, and it was initially called a county club; later changed name to honor the memory of Gladys Harrington’s son who had served as Plano’s mayor. She was a charter member of Conner Harrington Republican Women, and that is still her home club. CHRW was the first club to hold its meetings at night, thus was known as “the night club.” The club began with sixteen original members. Dixie was the first to serve as newsletter chair, which was called press relator in the early years. She also served as SREC Committeewoman from SD2, which was Collin County’s senatorial district during those years. She was recently honored at the TFRW Convention in 2019 as Dorothy Crockett Legacy Leadership Finalist. She continues to serve as precinct chair in her precinct in Plano.
She never rallied around a singular issue, because none were as important as the party as a whole, and that always was her focus during the last half century!
Dixie, TFRW loves you and is pleased to honor you with this Woman of Distinction award!