Samuel Philip "Phil" Wilson (born 1967) is the former Secretary of State for the state of Texas. He was appointed to the position effective July 1, 2007, by Republican Governor Rick Perry. Wilson was the 106th person to hold the position and the fifth individual to have served since Perry assumed the governorship in December 2000. On June 11, 2008, Wilson announced that he was resigning as secretary of state, effective July 6, to "pursue other opportunities." He was succeeded by Hope Andrade.
Williams succeeded Roger Williams of Weatherford, who also resigned to "pursue other opportunities." Wilson was previously Perry's deputy chief of staff, and Perry swore Wilson into his new position.
Perry said that Wilson will continue to serve as his designee on the Texas Enterprise Fund ($185 million) and the Emerging Technology Fund ($200 million). He will also continue to lead the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and Tourism. "Phil’s new role will allow my office to coordinate with the Office of Secretary of State in a seamless way to expand trade, economic development, emerging technology initiatives in the private sector and higher education, and workforce development," Perry said in a press release.
As the deputy chief of staff, Wilson oversaw the governor’s initiatives in economic development, job creation, federal funding, military base realignment and closure, and policy development. Under Wilson's leadership, the Enterprise Fund leveraged $10 billion in capital investment, along with the creation of 45,000 jobs. Wilson has also led public relations and media strategies for the $20 million annual Texas tourism campaign.
Wilson was Perry's Director of Communications from 2002-2003. Prior to 2002, he was an aide for nearly a decade to Republican U.S. Senator William Philip "Phil" Gramm. He was the East Texas Gramm director based in Tyler and then the state director anchored in Dallas. He also did a stint as communications director for former Texas Railroad Commissioner Charles Matthews. Democratic Texas State Senator Kirk Watson of Austin, an unsuccessful candidate for attorney general in 2002, called Wilson "extremely competent. He works hard; he knows his business; he's a real straight shooter."
Wilson grew up in Brownwood, the seat of Brown County in central Texas, where his father, Samuel Wilson, was a professor at the Douglas MacArthur Academy of Freedom at Baptist-affiliated Howard Payne University. Wilson graduated in 1990 from Baptist-affiliated Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, with a bachelor of arts degree in political science and history. He thereafter received an MBA degree from the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. At Hardin-Simmons, Wilson received the "Tomorrow's Leaders Today" Award and the George Skiles Anderson Award as the outstanding male graduate. He was also named to Who’s Who Among American Colleges and Universities and was a founding member of Theta Alpha Zeta.
"Phil Wilson is an extraordinary leader and a strong manager. He has a keen ability to make decisions and get results, and I know he will apply those skills successfully for the people of Texas," Perry said.
Wilson lives in Austin with his wife, the former Kristen Kincaid. They attend the Hill Country Bible Church, pastored by Tim Hawks. Wilson has apparently recovered from two bouts of cancer. He said that fighting the disease taught him never to give up in carrying out his goals.
In addition to Williams and Wilson, previous secretaries of state under Governor Perry were Henry Cuellar, Gwen Shea, and Geoff Connor.
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