R.I.P. Ann Richards, a real Texan woman

Former Texan governor Ann Richards’ death today at age 73 is a great loss.

She began her 1988 Democratic National Convention Keynote Address like this: “I’m delighted to be here with you this evening, because after listening to George Bush all these years, I figured you needed to know what a real Texas accent sounds like.”

And before leaving office in 1995, she spoke about her legacy:

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.”

Elsewhere, Teresa DiFalco recalls meeting Richards last year at the Austin Book Fair.

Update 9/15: A reader writes in with some dismaying facts about former Governor Richards: Hope you won’t mind if I point out that not all of us mourn for Ann Richards as a “great loss.” Especially not opponents of the death penalty, and families of its victims, mostly poor Black and Mexican prisoners who had shoddy to no defense and died for it. As Texas governor, she ramped up the pace and number of executions, presiding over 50 executions during her four years in office. At that time she was widely known as “Bloody Annie.” The only reason this doesn’t loom so large in memory now is because her successor, George W. Bush, outdid her by going on his own even worse killing spree, earning the title Governor Death.


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