Ann Richards

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The public does not like you to mislead or represent yourself to be something you're not... They don't ask their public officials to be perfect. They just ask them to be smart, truthful, honest, and show a modicum of good sense.

Dorothy Ann Willis Richards (September 1, 1933September 13, 2006) was an American politician from Texas. She first came to national attention as the witty keynote speaker at the 1988 Democratic National Convention. Considered the first woman elected Governor of Texas in her own right, she served in that post from 1991 to 1995; she was defeated for re-election in 1994 by George W. Bush.


  • … we're going to tell how the cow ate the cabbage.
    • 1988 Democratic National Convention keynote address[1]
  • Poor George, he can't help it — he was born with a silver foot in his mouth.
    • 1988 Democratic National Convention keynote address[1]
  • The regular Democratic Party and its organization was run by men who looked on women as little more than machine parts.[2]
  • I have seen the very bottom of life: I was so afraid I wouldn’t be funny anymore. I just knew that I would lose my zaniness and my sense of humor. But I didn’t. Recovery turned out to be a wonderful thing.[2]
  • The public does not like you to mislead or represent yourself to be something you're not. And the other thing that the public really does like is the self-examination to say, you know, I'm not perfect. I'm just like you. They don't ask their public officials to be perfect. They just ask them to be smart, truthful, honest, and show a modicum of good sense.
  • Oh, I would probably have raised more hell.[3]


  • 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.'*
  • I've always said that in politics, your enemies can't hurt you, but your friends will kill you.*
  • I get a lot of cracks about my hair, mostly from men who don't have any.*
  • (On ineffective government programs) "You can put lipstick and earrings on a hog and call it Monique, but it's still a pig.*
  • Let me tell you that I am the only child of a very rough-talking father. So don't be embarrassed about your language. I've either heard it or I can top it.*
  • Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out.
  • If you think taking care of yourself is selfish, change your mind. If you don't, you're simply ducking your responsibilities.
  • I have very strong feelings about how you lead your life. You always look ahead, you never look back.
  • But I'll tell you something sort of interesting. There's something, you know, there's something a little scary about funny women. Well, they're threatening. And there was a survey done one time where they asked women what they were most afraid of from men. And the— their response was they were most afraid of being hit or beaten or hurt from men. And they asked men what they were most afraid of from women, and they said being laughed at.
  • And the state of Texas, when I was governor, we built an awful lot of prisons. And to be frank with you, I made a deal, and the deal was that I would help pass the legislation and be for building a lot more prisons in Texas if I could get rehab programs for people who were alcoholics and drug abusers because I knew that over 80 percent of the crime committed in Texas was committed by people under the influence of alcohol or drugs. And unless you treat that alcoholism and you treat that drug addiction, when they go right back out on the street, you got a drunk or you've got an addict that is going to commit a crime again.
  • I thought I knew Texas pretty well, but I had no notion of its size until I campaigned it.*
  • Ann Richards on How to Be a Good Republican:
    1. 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.
    2. You have to believe that those privileged from birth achieve success all on their own.
    3. You have to be against all government programs, but expect Social Security checks on time.
    4. 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.
    5. You have to appreciate the power rush that comes with sporting a gun.
    6. You have to believe...everything Rush Limbaugh says.
    7. You have to believe that the agricultural, restaurant, housing and hotel industries can survive without immigrant labor.
    8. You have to believe God hates homosexuality, but loves the death penalty.
    9. 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.
    10. You have to believe that pollution is OK as long as it makes a profit.
    11. You have to believe in prayer in schools, as long as you don't pray to Allah or Buddha.
    12. You have to believe Newt Gingrich and Henry Hyde were really faithful husbands.
    13. You have to believe speaking a few Spanish phrases makes you instantly popular in the barrio.
    14. You have to believe that only your own teenagers are still virgins.
    15. 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.
    16. You love Jesus and Jesus loves you and, by the way, Jesus shares your hatred for AIDS victims, homosexuals, and President Clinton.
    17. You have to believe government has nothing to do with providing police protection, national defense, and building roads.
    18. 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.
  • Teaching was the hardest work I had ever done, and it remains the hardest work I have done to date.*
  • I haven't had this much fun since the pigs ate my brother (from an episode of the NPR radio program Wait Wait Don't Tell Me)



  1. a b c d "Transcript of the Keynote Address by Ann Richards, the Texas Treasurer", The New York Times, July 19, 1988. URL accessed on 2006-09-16.
  2. a b Lyman, Rick, "Ann Richards, Plain-Spoken Texas Governor Who Aided Minorities, Dies at 73", New York Times, September 14, 2006. URL accessed on 2006-09-16.
  3. a b Christofferson, Bill, "Bill Christofferson, "Ann Richards, R.I.P.", The Xoff Files, September 13, 2006. URL accessed on 2006-09-16.

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