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Ann Richards Quotes

Ann Richards (1933-2006)

By

Anne Richards 2001

Anne Richards 2001

Joe Raedle / Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Ann Richards was governor of Texas from 1991-1995. When Ann Richards was elected State Treasurer in 1982, she was the first woman elected to statewide office in Texas since Ma Ferguson. Richards was reelected in 1986, unopposed, and then ran for governor in 1990. She came to national prominence with a keynote speech at the 1988 Democratic National Convention. In her 1994 reelection campaign, she lost to George W. Bush, the son of the presidential candidate she'd skewered in 1988.

Selected Ann Richards Quotations

• I'm not afraid to shake up the system, and government needs more shaking up than any other system I know.

• I have very strong feelings about how you lead your life. You always look ahead, you never look back.

• The here and now is all we have, and if we play it right it's all we'll need.

• I have always had the feeling I could do anything and my dad told me I could. I was in college before I found out he might be wrong.

• They blame the low income women for ruining the country because they are staying home with their children and not going out to work. They blame the middle income women for ruining the country because they go out to work and do not stay home to take care of their children.

• I feel very strongly that change is good because it stirs up the system.

• 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.

• Teaching was the hardest work I had ever done, and it remains the hardest work I have done to date.

• Let me tell you, sisters, seeing dried egg on a plate in the morning is a lot dirtier than anything I've had to deal with in politics.

• Power is what calls the shots, and power is a white male game.

• If you think taking care of yourself is selfish, change your mind. If you don't, you're simply ducking your responsibilities.

• I'm really glad that our young people missed the Depression, and missed the great big war. But I do regret that they missed the leaders that I knew. Leaders who told us when things were tough, and that we would have to sacrifice, and these difficulties might last awhile. They didn't tell us things were hard for us because we were different, or isolated, or special interests. They brought us together and they gave us a sense of national purpose. [1988 keynote address, Democratic National Convention]

• I have a real soft spot in my heart for librarians and people who care about books.

• You can put lipstick and earrings on a hog and call it Monique, but it's still a pig.

• Women elected Bill Clinton this time. He acknowledges it, the country acknowledges it, and the columnists acknowledge it, and when you have that kind of political clout, you can effect change and do it well. And I'm real proud to have been a part of that.

• I get a lot of cracks about my hair, mostly from men who don't have any.

• 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.

• 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.

• I believe in recovery, and I believe that as a role model I have the responsibility to let young people know that you can make a mistake and come back from it.

• There is a lot more to life than just struggling to make money.

• I thought I knew Texas pretty well, but I had no notion of its size until I campaigned it.

• Women, it was painfully clear, weren't going to be allowed to use their brains and I certainly wanted to use mine.

• [I've] been tested by fire and the fire lost.

• I hope all the WASP present and past will fly high on wings of our pride in their service ... you have my profound gratitude for the legacy you have given to us and the legacy you pass on to young women today. [about the Women Airforce Service Pilots]

• I believe Mama would have liked to have had more children, but times were hard and I was the only one. Daddy had the fear -- maybe that fear is indigenous to the Depression generation -- that he wouldn't be able to afford all the things he wanted to give me, and he wanted to give me everything he'd never had. So they never had another child.

• Poor George, he can't help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth. [1988 keynote address, Democratic National Convention]

• I am delighted to be here with you this evening because after listening to George Bush all these years, I figured you needed to know what a real Texas accent sounds like. [1988 keynote address, Democratic National Convention]

• On How to Be a Good Republican: [excerpts]

  • You have to believe that those privileged from birth achieve success all on their own.
  • You have to be against all government programs, but expect Social Security checks on time.
  • You have to believe...everything Rush Limbaugh says.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

• Most of all, I remember those children in the classrooms and those kids who grabbed me around the knees, and I think of the old people who really need a voice when they're trapped in wheelchairs in dirty nursing homes. The person in this office really must have a conscience to know that how they direct this government dramatically affects the lives of those people.

Jill Buckley on Ann Richards: She's sort of the female good old boy.

• "You paid the price to some degree. You lost the governorship of Texas because this country still is a little bit schizoid, isn’t it, about the role of women in American politics?" [1996 question of newsman Tom Brokaw to Ann Richards]

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About These Quotes

Quote collection assembled by Jone Johnson Lewis. Each quotation page in this collection and the entire collection © Jone Johnson Lewis. This is an informal collection assembled over many years. I regret that I am not be able to provide the original source if it is not listed with the quote.

Citation information:
Jone Johnson Lewis. "Ann Richards Quotes." About Women's History. URL: http://womenshistory.about.com/od/quotes/a/ann_richards.htm . Date accessed: (today). (More on how to cite online sources including this page)

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