Former Texas Governor and progressive Democrat Ann Richards, 73, died yesterday from esophageal cancer at her home in Austin.
Richards was elected governor of Texas in 1991 after a brutal campaign against West Texas millionaire Clayton Williams. Richards went on to help revitalize the state’s economy, appoint more women and minorities to state agencies and reform the state’s prison system.
It was in 1988 as Texas state treasurer, however, when Richards gained national notoriety. During her keynote address at the Democratic National Convention that year she uttered the now famous one-liner about then vice president George H.W. Bush, “Poor George, he can’t help it…He was born with a silver foot in his mouth.”
When Richards was elected state treasurer in 1982 she became the first woman elected to a statewide office in Texas in 50 years. Prior to assuming that post, she served Travis County commissioner and volunteered on various local political campaigns.
After leaving the governorship in 1994, she served on various corporate boards and was a senior advisor at the Washington law firm of Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson and Hand.