“It’s a great day to be a Republican in Midland,” says Sue Brannon, a proud 6th generation Texan and Midlander. This is her opening line anytime she speaks at an event or on a local radio show and, typically, that’s all someone needs to hear to know who is on the other end of the mic. Having resided in Midland for 57 years, Brannon has held numerous leadership positions within the local Republican Party, helping it to gain unprecedented momentum while making many lifelong friends along the way.
It began shortly after Sue and her late husband, Ed Brannon, moved to Midland from Waco in 1958. They had decided to start a homebuilding company, which led Ed to Midland Commercial Bank & Trust Co. to request a loan.
“After applying for the loan, Ed was standing in front of their board, anticipating the decision,” Sue said. “That’s when one of the board members stood up and said ‘I like this Ed Brannon…let’s go with him!’” That board member would soon become Vice President to Ronald Reagan, and eventually, the 41st President of the United States. That was the start of the Brannon’s first business together and a lifelong friendship with the Bush family. Sue would go on to attend every Bush inaugural ball, both in Austin and D.C.
As Sue and Ed were establishing their new business and settling into West Texas life, Sue’s friends encouraged her to join the Midland County Republican Women’s club (MCRW). Eager to meet new people and get involved, Sue joined the club that would quickly become a catalyst in her role as a local leader in Midland’s political community. “I ended up holding every leadership position possible in MCRW- including President,” she said. “I just loved meeting new people and getting to know them. I’m a people person and that’s why I loved having those roles.”
She was able to not only meet women in MCRW, but all of the candidates and elected officials that would come and speak at the meetings. Brannon said that at one meeting in particular, she baked homemade bread to be sold at their silent auction. “It just so happened that Greg Abbott was our speaker that day and he ended up paying $50 for my bread! Now every time I see his daughter, she calls me the ‘Bread Lady’,” Sue recalled, laughing.
In 1999, Sue set her eyes on a much larger leadership role. While serving as President of MCRW, Brannon was approached by Judge Dean Rucker who encouraged her to run for Republican County Chair. “He told me, ‘…we need someone who is hands-on and a people-person,’” she said. Brannon decided to run and became the first woman in Midland to serve as County Chair. When asked why she decided to take on these formal leadership roles, she said, “God has blessed me and I want to give back to Midland and to Texas the blessings that I’ve received. I want to pass on the Goodness.”
Brannon served as County Chair until 2010 and Vice-Chair until 2012. During her time in office, she helped the local party grow tremendously. “When Ed and I attended our first County Convention there were about 30 attendees. At the end of my tenure, there were 300,” she said. Rucker was right, Brannon’s ability to connect with people was a huge asset to Midland’s Republican Party as well as the MCRW, helping it to grow into what it is today – the largest Republican Women’s club in the world.
Brannon has continued to stay politically active in the community and state. Appointed by former Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, she serves on the Commission on State Emergency Communications, in addition to the Midland Historical Commission and Midland County Historical Society. She is a member of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas and National Rifle Association. On Thursday’s, you can find her giving tours of George W. Bush’s childhood home in “old Midland” and attends nearly every city council and commissioners court meeting in town, often wearing red, white, or blue.
When not serving in a political capacity, Brannon owns and operates the 868 Storage Units in Midland and regularly travels to Leakey, TX to visit the working ranch that she and Ed purchased back in 1960. She loves spending time with her two children, Sherri and Reid, who both reside in Midland, as well as her two grandchildren, Garrett and Amber Kay. She is an active member of Golf Course Church of Christ and as a pastime, still bakes delicious, homemade bread for silent auctions, friends, and local families in need.