FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 14, 2006
AUSTIN, TX--It is with deep sadness that we bid farewell to one of Texas' greatest ladies, Gov. Ann Richards. While I mourn the loss of this good friend, I cherish the many fond memories I have of her.
The moment I heard about her ordeal with cancer, I began praying for her. I was at M.D. Anderson with a family member when I first heard the sad news. Her struggle with cancer, and that of my own family members, prompts me to urge Texans to lead a united effort in battling this disease. It claims too many lives.
But Ann was a household word, and not just in Texas. She had a tremendous sense of humor, very witty. I recall that every time I traveled out-of-state when she was in office, someone wanted to talk about her. She was even considered to run for the second highest office in the land, for vice-president. That is pretty impressive for a young lady who started out in a local unit of government as a Travis County Commissioner.
As the state's first female governor in 50 years, Ann led the way for our wives, daughters and sisters to take more active roles in government. She increased appointments to state agencies and commissions, thus broadening the status of women.
She championed prison reform, the environment and public school finance reform. I think she was the first Governor to attempt reforming the way we financed our public schools. Throughout her time in office, she and I visited several schools, both in Austin and in my Senatorial District in South Texas. Her love of children left an indelible mark on me. The great impact she had on our public schools persists to this day.
Ann's robust character and love of Texas motivated us all to work harder for the people we serve. She won the governor's seat the same year I won my Senatorial seat, 1990. As a public figure, she was well-known nationally and even internationally. She made us proud to be Texans. She made us laugh. She made us think.
Today we mourn the loss of one of our state's most colorful and progressive women. Her soul now rests in peace, while her legacy continues to guide the Texas she so loved.