One of my political heroes, former Texas Governor Ann Richards, has died at the age of 73. She was a true leader who knew how to slice through political b.s. and tackle problems head on. She may have only served one term as governor, but her legacy stretched far beyond those four years and reached well outside the Texas state line.
She of course had her flaws. But her humanity simply made her a better leader and more endearing to the people. IÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ve often been asked by non-Texans how it was that Texas could ever elect a woman Democrat to be our governor. I could only smile and say, you have to know Ann.
She was a true-blue Texan. The type of smart-witted, big hearted, tough-minded person we Texans hold dear. And while some strongly disliked her (for her politics or for her history of alcoholism or just for being a woman in a manÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s job), many more respected her, even loved her, because she spoke her mind and spoke sense.
Ann was one-of-a-kind. But she did come from a tradition of Southern Democratic politics that has since washed away. You can no longer find the Ann Richards type among Texas Democrats. And thatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s a shame.
Her voice, her views, her humor and her heart will be missed.
Rest in peace, Ann.