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Ann Richards

Ann Richards was an important figure in Texas politics for some time and rose to prominence on the national scene first when she became the first female governor of Texas in more than 50 years and later when she made a speech before the Democratic National Convention in 1988 making fun of fellow Texan and George Bush. The rise of Ann Richards to the leadership of Texas was a case of a woman overcoming great odds and difficulties, including a divorce and a drinking problem, as well as the general difficulties women face in politics across the nation in general and in Texas specifically. Richards herself noted this when she was first elected to public office in 1976. After she defeated a threeterm incumbent for a seat on the Travis County Commissioners Court, she remembered that as a time when "Texas was not noticeably hospitable to the notion that a woman could handle that kind of responsibility" ("Ann Richards"). Yet, she managed to show the voters otherwise and to rise much higher in Texas politics before being defeated in 1994 by George Bush Jr. She has since tested the loyalty of many of her supporters with her new job as tobacco lobbyist in an anti-tobacco climate. Her story suggests not only her own strength and leadership qualities but also the nature of the political problems facing women as candidates today.

Ann Richards was born Dorothy Ann Willis on September 1, 1933 in Lakeview, Texas, a small town outside of Waco. Her father was a truckdriver for a pharmaceutical-supply company. Her grandparents on both sides were farmers. Her parents were middle class and had to work hard to make ends meet, but they made certain that Ann received piano and elocution lessons, and the latter certainly held her in good stead in the political world and contributed to her abilities as a communicator and persuader. During World War II the family lived for a time in San Diego. They returned to Lakeview after the war. She enrol...

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Ann Richards. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 10:36, August 04, 2020, from