Thursday, September 14, 2006

Ann Richards, 1933-2006

Back when she was governor, Ann Richards had the duty of speaking to a group of state insurance regulators who were meeting in Houston. Also in the audience were many representatives of the insurance industry and their lawyers, myself included in the last category. It was, I suppose, a fairly standard Ann Richards speech, laced with Texan expansiveness but leavened by self-deprecating humor. At one point, she suggested the need for greater government oversight of some aspect of the business. There was a moment of dead silence, then one man started clapping loudly. "You're a lo-o-o-nely fellow," she said.

Given the drift of Texas politics over the years since she left office, one might suppose she spent her later years as a lonely woman. But the progressive tradition in Texas is still very much alive. Ann Richards embodied much of what is great about a great state.

9/18 update: Interesting and amusing reminisences of Ann's post-gubernatorial days by a man who served as her personal assistant, in a blog called In the Pink Texas.