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, and attended Baylor University. Before entering politics, she supported her civil rights lawyer husband, David Richards, and raised their four children while volunteering with the Texas Democratic Party and other progressive political organizations. She began her political career in earnest as a campaign manager for 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. Richards was elected Travis County Commissioner in 1976 and Texas State Treasurer in 1982 and 1986. Richards achieved national prominence when she delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in 1988 and became famous for her line about the elder George Bush, "Poor George, he can't help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth." Richards was elected Governor of Texas in 1990, an office in which she appointed many women, Latinos, and African-Americans to office and also 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. She was defeated for reelection in 1994 by George W. Bush. Richards remained active in politics but never again held elected office. 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.
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