Former State Treasurer Remembers Richards - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

9/13/06-Longview

Former State Treasurer Remembers Richards

Ann Richards left quite a legacy, especially in her efforts to pave the way for women and minorities. She will also be remembered as a Texas icon.  Right here in East Texas, the woman she appointed State Treasurer back in 1993 shares her memories of what Richards personally meant to her.  

Her speeches were always memorable.  In an 1988 Democratic National Convention, Richards said, "If you give us a chance, we can perform, after all, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Estaire did only she did it backwards and in high heels."

It's that attitude that has left a lasting legacy for women and minorities in government, even to this day. "She opened so many doors for so many women...she was such an inspiration to women in Texas for the 80s and 90s and even into the 2000s," says former Texas State Treasurer Martha Whitehead of Longview. 

Martha knows that first hand. That's because Ann Richards appointed her to be State Treasurer in 1993. Martha was just one of many women who got important, influential jobs under Richards. She says, "The state government in Texas had been controlled by the good ole boys for so many years and she wanted to give other people a chance."

Her husband, Laughton Whitehead, feels the same way. "She appointed women who would never have the opportunity to serve like she did and like Martha did to various positions."

And like so many, who are sharing their memories of Richards today. "She was so inherently funny...she said honey, you got to get you some hot colors because we're going to be on television," Martha says. "She will certainly be remembered as a role model for women, someone who encouraged women."

Martha Whitehead says Richards will be missed at the opening of her school in Austin. She knew Richards would have loved to be there. The Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders is set to open August of next year.

Tracy Watler/Reporting: tracy@kltv.com.

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