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Former Texas Gov. Ann Richards, 73, dies

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/09/13/richards.obit.ap/index.html Former Texas Gov. Ann Richards, 73, dies POSTED: 11:49 p.m. EDT, September 13, 2006 AUSTIN,
    Message 1 of 4 , Sep 13, 2006
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      http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/09/13/richards.obit.ap/index.html

      Former Texas Gov. Ann Richards, 73, dies
      POSTED: 11:49 p.m. EDT, September 13, 2006

      AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Former Gov. Ann Richards, the
      witty and flamboyant Democrat who went from homemaker
      to national political celebrity, died Wednesday night
      after a battle with cancer, a family spokeswoman said.
      She was 73.

      She died at home surrounded by her family, the
      spokeswoman said. Richards was found to have
      esophageal cancer in March and underwent chemotherapy
      treatments.

      The silver-haired, silver-tongued Richards said she
      entered politics to help others -- especially women
      and minorities who were often ignored by Texas'
      male-dominated establishment. (Watch how Richards took
      the national stage -- 4:04)

      "I did not want my tombstone to read, 'She kept a
      really clean house.' I think I'd like them to remember
      me by saying, 'She opened government to everyone,' "
      Richards said shortly before leaving office in January
      1995.

      She was governor for one term, losing her re-election
      bid to Republican George W. Bush.

      Her four adult children spent Wednesday with her, said
      family spokeswoman Cathy Bonner, a longtime family
      friend.

      "They're a strong group of people but they're
      brokenhearted, of course," Bonner said.

      Her family said as governor she was most proud of two
      actions that probably cost her re-election. She vetoed
      legislation that would allow people to carry concealed
      handguns, automatic weapons and "cop-killer bullets."
      She also vetoed a bill that would have allowed the
      destruction of the environment over the Edwards
      Aquifer.
      Joking on a national stage

      She grabbed the national spotlight with her keynote
      address at the 1988 Democratic National Convention
      when she was the Texas state treasurer. Richards won
      cheers from delegates when she reminded them that
      Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, "only
      backwards and in high heels."

      Richards sealed her partisan reputation with a blast
      at George H. W. Bush, a fellow Texan who was vice
      president at the time: "Poor George, he can't help it.
      He was born with a silver foot in his mouth."

      Four years later, she was chairwoman of the Democratic
      convention that nominated Bill Clinton for president.

      Richards rose to the governorship with a
      come-from-behind victory over millionaire cowboy
      Clayton Williams in 1990. She cracked a half-century
      male grip on the governor's mansion and celebrated by
      holding up a T-shirt that showed the state Capitol and
      read: "A woman's place is in the dome."

      In four years as governor, Richards championed what
      she called the "New Texas," appointing more women and
      more minorities to state posts than any of her
      predecessors.

      She appointed the first black University of Texas
      regent; the first crime victim to join the state
      Criminal Justice Board; the first disabled person to
      serve on the human services board; and the first
      teacher to lead the State Board of Education. Under
      Richards, the fabled Texas Rangers pinned stars on
      their first black and female officers.

      She polished Texas' image, courted movie producers,
      championed the North American Free Trade Agreement,
      oversaw an expansion of the state prison system, and
      presided over rising student achievement scores and
      plunging dropout rates.

      She took time out to celebrate her 60th birthday by
      earning her motorcycle driver's license.
      Life after the governor's mansion

      Throughout her years in office, her personal
      popularity remained high. One poll put it at more than
      60 percent the year she lost to Bush.

      "I may have lost the race," Richards said after the
      defeat. "But I don't think I lost the good feelings
      that people have about me in this state. That's
      tremendously reassuring to me."

      Richards went on to give speeches, work as a
      commentator for CNN and serve as a senior adviser in
      the New York office of Public Strategies Inc., an
      Austin-based consulting firm.

      In her last 10 years, Richards worked for many social
      causes and helped develop the Ann Richards School for
      Young Women Leaders, scheduled to open in Austin in
      2007.

      Born in Lakeview, Texas, in 1933, Richards grew up
      near Waco, married civil rights lawyer David Richards
      and spent her early adulthood volunteering in
      campaigns and raising four children. She often said
      the hardest job she ever had was as a public school
      teacher at Fulmore Junior High School in Austin.

      Richards served on the Travis County Commissioners
      Court in Austin for six years before jumping to a
      bigger arena in 1982. Her election as state treasurer
      made her the first woman elected statewide in nearly
      50 years.

      But politics took a toll. It helped break up her
      marriage. And public life forced her to be remarkably
      candid about her 1980 treatment for alcoholism.

      "I had seen the very bottom of life," she once
      recalled. "I was so afraid I wouldn't be funny
      anymore. I just knew that I would lose my zaniness and
      my sense of humor. But I didn't. Recovery turned out
      to be a wonderful thing."

      The 1990 election was rough. Her Democratic primary
      opponent, then-Attorney General Jim Mattox, accused
      her of using illegal drugs. Williams, an oilman,
      banker and rancher, spent millions of his own money on
      the race she narrowly won.

      After her unsuccessful re-election campaign against
      Bush, Richards said she never missed being in public
      office.

      Asked once what she might have done differently had
      she known she was going to be a one-term governor,
      Richards grinned.

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

      Survivors include her children, Cecile Richards,
      Daniel Richards, Clark Richards and Ellen Richards;
      their spouses; and eight grandchildren.
    • THOMAS JOHNSON
      I ll miss her.. She was good for Texas and good for the country. Tom ... http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/09/13/richards.obit.ap/index.html
      Message 2 of 4 , Sep 14, 2006
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        I'll miss her.. She was good for Texas and good for
        the country.

        Tom



        --- Greg Cannon <gregcannon1@...> wrote:

        >
        http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/09/13/richards.obit.ap/index.html
        >
        > Former Texas Gov. Ann Richards, 73, dies
        > POSTED: 11:49 p.m. EDT, September 13, 2006
        >
        > AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Former Gov. Ann Richards, the
        > witty and flamboyant Democrat who went from
        > homemaker
        > to national political celebrity, died Wednesday
        > night
        > after a battle with cancer, a family spokeswoman
        > said.
        > She was 73.
        >
        > She died at home surrounded by her family, the
        > spokeswoman said. Richards was found to have
        > esophageal cancer in March and underwent
        > chemotherapy
        > treatments.
        >
        > The silver-haired, silver-tongued Richards said she
        > entered politics to help others -- especially women
        > and minorities who were often ignored by Texas'
        > male-dominated establishment. (Watch how Richards
        > took
        > the national stage -- 4:04)
        >
        > "I did not want my tombstone to read, 'She kept a
        > really clean house.' I think I'd like them to
        > remember
        > me by saying, 'She opened government to everyone,' "
        > Richards said shortly before leaving office in
        > January
        > 1995.
        >
        > She was governor for one term, losing her
        > re-election
        > bid to Republican George W. Bush.
        >
        > Her four adult children spent Wednesday with her,
        > said
        > family spokeswoman Cathy Bonner, a longtime family
        > friend.
        >
        > "They're a strong group of people but they're
        > brokenhearted, of course," Bonner said.
        >
        > Her family said as governor she was most proud of
        > two
        > actions that probably cost her re-election. She
        > vetoed
        > legislation that would allow people to carry
        > concealed
        > handguns, automatic weapons and "cop-killer
        > bullets."
        > She also vetoed a bill that would have allowed the
        > destruction of the environment over the Edwards
        > Aquifer.
        > Joking on a national stage
        >
        > She grabbed the national spotlight with her keynote
        > address at the 1988 Democratic National Convention
        > when she was the Texas state treasurer. Richards won
        > cheers from delegates when she reminded them that
        > Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, "only
        > backwards and in high heels."
        >
        > Richards sealed her partisan reputation with a blast
        > at George H. W. Bush, a fellow Texan who was vice
        > president at the time: "Poor George, he can't help
        > it.
        > He was born with a silver foot in his mouth."
        >
        > Four years later, she was chairwoman of the
        > Democratic
        > convention that nominated Bill Clinton for
        > president.
        >
        > Richards rose to the governorship with a
        > come-from-behind victory over millionaire cowboy
        > Clayton Williams in 1990. She cracked a half-century
        > male grip on the governor's mansion and celebrated
        > by
        > holding up a T-shirt that showed the state Capitol
        > and
        > read: "A woman's place is in the dome."
        >
        > In four years as governor, Richards championed what
        > she called the "New Texas," appointing more women
        > and
        > more minorities to state posts than any of her
        > predecessors.
        >
        > She appointed the first black University of Texas
        > regent; the first crime victim to join the state
        > Criminal Justice Board; the first disabled person to
        > serve on the human services board; and the first
        > teacher to lead the State Board of Education. Under
        > Richards, the fabled Texas Rangers pinned stars on
        > their first black and female officers.
        >
        > She polished Texas' image, courted movie producers,
        > championed the North American Free Trade Agreement,
        > oversaw an expansion of the state prison system, and
        > presided over rising student achievement scores and
        > plunging dropout rates.
        >
        > She took time out to celebrate her 60th birthday by
        > earning her motorcycle driver's license.
        > Life after the governor's mansion
        >
        > Throughout her years in office, her personal
        > popularity remained high. One poll put it at more
        > than
        > 60 percent the year she lost to Bush.
        >
        > "I may have lost the race," Richards said after the
        > defeat. "But I don't think I lost the good feelings
        > that people have about me in this state. That's
        > tremendously reassuring to me."
        >
        > Richards went on to give speeches, work as a
        > commentator for CNN and serve as a senior adviser in
        > the New York office of Public Strategies Inc., an
        > Austin-based consulting firm.
        >
        > In her last 10 years, Richards worked for many
        > social
        > causes and helped develop the Ann Richards School
        > for
        > Young Women Leaders, scheduled to open in Austin in
        > 2007.
        >
        > Born in Lakeview, Texas, in 1933, Richards grew up
        > near Waco, married civil rights lawyer David
        > Richards
        > and spent her early adulthood volunteering in
        > campaigns and raising four children. She often said
        > the hardest job she ever had was as a public school
        > teacher at Fulmore Junior High School in Austin.
        >
        > Richards served on the Travis County Commissioners
        > Court in Austin for six years before jumping to a
        > bigger arena in 1982. Her election as state
        > treasurer
        > made her the first woman elected statewide in nearly
        > 50 years.
        >
        > But politics took a toll. It helped break up her
        > marriage. And public life forced her to be
        > remarkably
        > candid about her 1980 treatment for alcoholism.
        >
        > "I had seen the very bottom of life," she once
        > recalled. "I was so afraid I wouldn't be funny
        > anymore. I just knew that I would lose my zaniness
        > and
        > my sense of humor. But I didn't. Recovery turned out
        > to be a wonderful thing."
        >
        > The 1990 election was rough. Her Democratic primary
        > opponent, then-Attorney General Jim Mattox, accused
        > her of using illegal drugs. Williams, an oilman,
        > banker and rancher, spent millions of his own money
        > on
        > the race she narrowly won.
        >
        > After her unsuccessful re-election campaign against
        > Bush, Richards said she never missed being in public
        > office.
        >
        > Asked once what she might have done differently had
        > she known she was going to be a one-term governor,
        > Richards grinned.
        >
        > "Oh, I would probably have raised more hell."
        >
        > Survivors include her children, Cecile Richards,
        > Daniel Richards, Clark Richards and Ellen Richards;
        > their spouses; and eight grandchildren.
        >
      • Ram Lau
        I wonder why Clinton didn t make her an ambassador after she lost the governorship. She d have made a great ambassador, wouldn t she? Ram
        Message 3 of 4 , Sep 14, 2006
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          I wonder why Clinton didn't make her an ambassador after she lost the
          governorship. She'd have made a great ambassador, wouldn't she?

          Ram
        • THOMAS JOHNSON
          I know that she wanted to leave public life, so maybe she wasn t interested.. don t really know if there were any offers but I agree she would have been
          Message 4 of 4 , Sep 14, 2006
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            I know that she wanted to leave public life, so maybe
            she wasn't interested.. don't really know if there
            were any offers but I agree she would have been
            great... I think she felt it was time to make some
            money. She's a homegirl from Austin, so it was a fun
            career to watch blossom.. she used to say ' you can
            put lipstick on a hog and call her Monique, but it's
            still a hog,'when pols tried to use smoke and mirrors.

            Tom



            --- Ram Lau <ramlau@...> wrote:

            > I wonder why Clinton didn't make her an ambassador
            > after she lost the
            > governorship. She'd have made a great ambassador,
            > wouldn't she?
            >
            > Ram
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
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