A Fitting Tribute
At the Ann Richards Congress Bridge dedication
By Wells Dunbar,
11:46AM, Thu. Nov. 16, 2006
"Ann was so cool," Council Member Mike Martinez said atop city hall's second story balcony, the Congress Avenue Bridge hovering behind him like a hologram above shining water this blustery morning. "If we did this when she was still alive, she'd say 'Cool, but it's still the same old bat bridge."
Becoming of the woman it's now christened for, the City Council ceremony naming the iconic structure the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Memorial Bridge suffered no shortage of real talk. It began two stories down in City Council chambers, as they passed Item 40 naming the bridge. Lee Leffingwell remarked how Richards is locally known for teaching at Fulmore High School; indeed, she taught around the same time Leffingwell attended class there, but alas, they didn't overlap. Martinez called her a champion of women and minorities, and Sheryl Cole, further emphasizing the work she did ushering diverse faces into government, said it was "particularly fitting that a bridge be named after her." Ann Richards' son Dan Richards then took to the podium, extending his gratitude.
Back on the balcony, Richards spoke further to the naming. "I think it's fabulous, because it's in the middle of town, not out in the country where no one will see it," he said. "Our grandparents are buried in Waco, right off of I-35," he continued, before joking this was a good thing, so they could "drive right by."
"She did say we're all gonna march down Congress Avenue (and into the Capitol)," he continued, describing the consternation her famous election march drew from the DPS. "But she thought it was a good idea." Dan's sister Ellen Richards, also on hand, then interjected "25,000 other people thought so to!" Summarized her brother,"it's very sweet of Council to do this."