Thursday, September 14, 2006


We lost former Texas governor Ann Richards last night after a battle with espohageal cancer. She was 73.

While the former homemaker was active in Democratic party politics for many years, she did not seek office until she was in her 40s after marrying and having four children. Her first office was on the Travis County Commission in 1976. She was eventually elected Texas State Treasurer during the 1980s, and only became the second woman elected the Lone Star State's governor in 1990.

During her four years in office, Richards vetoed a bill which would have allowed the destruction of the Edwards Aquifer, a major underground water system which now serves 1.7 million residents of south-central Texas, including San Antonio. She also vetoed a bill which would have allowed Texans to carry concealed handguns, automatic weapons, and so-called "cop killer" bullets. While those decisions likely contributed to her loss for re-election to our current president, Ms. Richards has been quoted as saying that those were the two decisions she was most proud of as governor. As part of her vision of a "New Texas", she appointed more women and minorities to state posts than any of her predecessors.

Ms. Richards was known for her quick witted comments, which was highlighted during a speech to the 1988 Democratic National Convention in Atlanta when she referred to Republican nominee George H.W. Bush this way:

"Poor George. He can't help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth."

Another of her famous sayings referred to her view of aspirations of women in politics:

"Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did. She just did it backwards and in high heels."

And when asked what she may have done differently if she had known her time in office would have only been one term, Ann Richards responded:

"Oh, I would probably have raised more hell."


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