During her four years as governor, Richards developed a reputation as an effective and compassionate reformer, fighting for expanded rights for women and minorities. She streamlined the state government, revitalized Texas' corporate infrastructure, fought to reform the education system in Texas, established the Texas state lottery as a means to fund the public schools, and changed the Texas prison system by creating inmate substance abuse programs.
"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,' " the feisty and flamboyant Democrat told an interviewer shortly before leaving office in January 1995.
Ann lost her battle with cancer this week. As we prepare to say our final good-byes this weekend, here is a snippet of her winning wit.
How to Be a Good Republican:
- You have to believe that the nation’s current 8-year prosperity was due to the work of Ronald Reagan and George Bush, but yesterday’s gasoline prices are all Clinton’s fault.
- You have to believe that those privileged from birth achieve success all on their own.
- You have to be against all government programs, but expect Social Security checks on time.
- You have to believe that AIDS victims deserve their disease, but smokers with lung cancer and overweight individuals with heart disease don’t deserve theirs.
- You have to appreciate the power rush that comes with sporting a gun.
- You have to believe…everything Rush Limbaugh says.
- You have to believe that the agricultural, restaurant, housing and hotel industries can survive without immigrant labor.
- You have to believe God hates homosexuality, but loves the death penalty.
- You have to believe society is color-blind and growing up black in America doesn’t diminish your opportunities, but you still won’t vote for Alan Keyes.
- You have to believe that pollution is OK as long as it makes a profit.
- You have to believe in prayer in schools, as long as you don’t pray to Allah or Buddha.
- You have to believe Newt Gingrich and Henry Hyde were really faithful husbands.
- You have to believe speaking a few Spanish phrases makes you instantly popular in the barrio.
- You have to believe that only your own teenagers are still virgins.
- You have to be against government interference in business, until your oil company, corporation or Savings and Loan is about to go broke and you beg for a government bail out.
- You love Jesus and Jesus loves you and, by the way, Jesus shares your hatred for AIDS victims, homosexuals, and President Clinton.
- You have to believe government has nothing to do with providing police protection, national defense, and building roads.
- You have to believe a poor, minority student with a disciplinary history and failing grades will be admitted into an elite private school with a $1,000 voucher.