The Austin Chronicle

Grace Garcia Killed in Car Crash

By Brandon Watson, June 3, 2014, 3:00pm, Newsdesk

Grace Garcia, one of the most influential women in state politics, was killed Monday in a car crash in Waxahachie. A campaign veteran, Garcia's career spanned from the State Capitol to the White House. As executive director of Annie's List, she spearheaded a year in which female candidates and reproductive rights have had unprecedented visibility.

"It is with a tremendous sense of loss that we announce the passing of our executive director and leader Grace Garcia, who lost her life in a car accident Monday afternoon," said Annie's List Board Chair Amber Mostyn in a statement. "Grace Garcia was the passionate, tough, visionary leader we needed at Annie's List. The best possible tribute to her life is to continue the work Grace started on behalf of Annie's List and women across Texas."

Garcia joined Annie's List after serving in the protocol office for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In the White House, she held several positions including Deputy Director in the Office of Presidential Scheduling and Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs for the Interior Department. She also was a founder of the National Latina Political Action Committee and played a pivotal role in Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.

On Tuesday morning, Democratic colleagues paid tribute to her legacy.

"I have been profoundly blessed to have shared moments of my life with my friend, Grace Garcia, a woman with a rare combination of guts and tenderness who I will deeply miss," said Sen. Wendy Davis. "Where others saw challenges, Grace saw possibilities and was always inspiring others to believe in her vision. That's why, under her guidance, Annie's List had its most extraordinary year ever. Her absence in the landscape of Texas politics and what she meant to us personally will leave a void that simply cannot be filled."

High school classmate Sen. Leticia Van de Putte called Garcia a "giant." “To me, it was an honor to call her my sister, she was like family," said Van de Putte. "I will be forever indebted to Grace. She was always there for me and for my family. She was at the decision table convincing me to run for lieutenant governor. Our test in life is to leave this place better than when we got here, to be good gente and do right by others. Grace met that test and this country is a better place because she lived."

Mostyn said Garcia's family will be making an announcement regarding funeral arrangements in the coming days. Annie's List Deputy Director Piper Nelson was also seriously injured in the accident and remains hospitalized.

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