This television footage documents the Inauguration Day of Governor Ann Richards on January 15, 1991 in Austin, Texas. Hosted by former San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros, Texas journalist Bob Phillips, and Texas author and humorist Molly Ivins, the footage captures scenes of the March to Take Back the Capitol led by Ann Richards and her family, as well as the Prayer Ceremony and Swearing In ceremony held for Richards and Lt. Governor Bob Bullock. The excitement of Texas citizens and politicians for the popular governor is easily felt throughout the festivities. Please note that the footage cuts off before Richards in sworn in.
Dorothy Ann Willis Richards was a Texas politician and the Governor of Texas from 1991-95, known for her progressive politics, quick wit, sharp tongue, and helmet of bright white hair. Richards was born in Lakeview, near Waco, in 1933. She attended Waco High School in the late 1940s where she met her future husband, David Richards, and as part of the debate team, attended Girls State, a mock government assembly, where she was elected lieutenant governor, sparking the political involvement that would shape her later career. Richards finished high school in 1950 and attended Baylor University, finishing in 1954. During that time, David transferred to Baylor to be with Ann, and the two married in 1953. The couple moved to Austin after graduation, where David attended law school at the University of Texas, and Ann taught junior high government. The couple then moved to Dallas in 1957 where David began practicing law, arguing civil rights and workers rights cases, representing several labor unions. For a brief period in 1961-62, the family moved to Washington D.C. when David got a job as a staff lawyer with the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. They were quickly disillusioned with D.C. society and "came to the conclusion that when [they] had moved to Washington, [they] had left the New Frontier." The family moved back to Dallas after only one year. In the 12 years the Richardses spent in Dallas, they remained very involved in progressive activist groups and the Democratic party, and they also stayed busy having four children - Cecile (now President of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America), Dan, Clark, and Ellen were all born in those years.
Although they made many close friends there, in 1969, Ann and David decided they could no longer stand living in the stifling conservative environment of Dallas, and David took a job in Austin, continuing his labor and civil rights legal work. Ann became more heavily involved in local politics, eventually managing the legislative campaigns of Sarah Weddington in 1972 and Wilhelmina Delco in 1974. Weddington was the attorney for "Jane Roe" of Roe v. Wade, and Delco was the first African American to represent Austin in the Texas Legislature. Ann continued to work for Weddington during her time in the Texas House, providing Ann the avenue to become known around the Texas Capitol and solidify her political aspirations. After David turned down a request from the Texas Democratic leadership to run for county commissioner in 1976, he encouraged Ann to run instead. She won and became the first woman elected county commissioner in Travis County. She served in that office until 1982, when she was elected state treasurer. Richards was not only the first woman to serve as state treasurer, but she was also the first woman elected to statewide office since Miriam Ferguson was elected governor in 1932. In 1980, Richards was treated for alcoholism, and her marriage to David ended later that year.
Richards was reelected state treasurer in 1986, and her political star kept rising. She delivered her famous address at the National Democratic Convention in 1988, rising to national prominence as a result of that speech and her famous line about the elder George Bush, "Poor George, he can't help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth." In 1990, Richards ran for governor, winning the Democratic nomination after a somewhat ugly race against Attorney General Jim Mattox and former Governor Mark White. She defeated Republican Clayton Williams on November 6, 1990, and was inaugurated on January 15, 1991, a historic day for Austin as Richards led thousands of citizens to "take back the Texas Capitol" in a march down Congress Avenue.
As governor, Ann Richards appointed many women, Latinos, and African Americans to office. She created the state lottery, worked to equally distribute public school funding, vetoed the Concealed Carry Bill, and reformed the Texas prison system. Richards also brought the Texas Film Commission to the Office of the Governor and advocated extensively for the Texas film industry. Richards was defeated for reelection in 1994 by George W. Bush, and her parting words with the Office of the Governor were, "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.'"
After leaving office, Richards served as a political consultant. She received numerous awards, including the Texas NAACP Presidential Award for Outstanding Contributions to Civil Rights, the National Wildlife Federation Conservation Achievement Award, and the Mexican government's Order of the Aztec Eagle. She was also honored by the Texas Women's Hall of Fame. She served as a visiting professor of politics at Brandeis University in the late 1990s and authored two books. She spent her years after her divorce from David with author Bud Shrake, an old friend and the second great love of her life. Richards was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in March 2006 and died on September 13, 2006. in Austin. She is buried in the Texas State Cemetery. In 2007, the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders, a preparatory school for girls, opened in Austin.
Newspaper columnist, author, political commentator, and humorist, Mary Tyler "Molly" Ivins, was born in Monterey, California on August 30, 1944. Raised in Houston, Ivins received a degree in history from Smith College and an M.A. from Columbia University's School of Journalism in 1967. The same year, she began reporting for the Houston Chronicle and the Minneapolis Tribune until relocating to Austin in 1970 to write for the Texas Observer, during which time she joined the ranks of Austin's liberal elite, befriending, among others, John Henry Faulk, Bob Bullock, and Ann Richards. Ivins became a staff writer for the New York Times in 1976 and stayed through 1980, acting as head of the Times Rocky Mountain Bureau. Her edgy writing style eventually clashed with the Times editors and in 1982, Ivins took a position at the Dallas Times Herald, where her colorful style and liberal perspective were embraced. She became an independent columnist in 2001, and her work appeared in nearly 400 newspapers nationwide. Ivins published several books including her first, 1991's Molly Ivins Can't Say That, Can She?. The book's title was taken from the Dallas Times Herald's humorous response to criticism caused by Ivins's comments about Republican Texas Congressman James M. Collins: "If his IQ slips any lower, we'll have to water him twice a day."
Throughout her career, Ivins received numerous honors, including her election to the National Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Progress and Service, and the David Nyham Prize for Political Journalism from Harvard University. True to character, Ivins commented that despite her prestigious awards, she was particularly proud of having the Minneapolis police force's pig named after her and being banned from the Texas A&M University campus. Molly Ivins was diagnosed with late stage breast cancer in 1999, and after fighting the illness for eight years, she died on January 31, 2007. Several months after her death, Ivins's last book, co-authored with Lou Dubose, Bill of Wrongs! The Executive Branch's Assault on America's Fundamental Rights, was published.