Fond Memories of Ann Richards

RECEIVED Wed., Sept. 20, 2006

Dear Editor,
    Perhaps my fondest memory of Ann Richards was the day after she was elected governor. Having worked hard for Ann’s campaign, I took my husband and young son (then in second grade) from Dallas to Austin for the election. My son wore his “Another Man for Ann” T-shirt and wrote about his experience in the school newspaper. It was a heady experience and we all drank it in.
    The morning after the election we were leaving Austin to return to Dallas and went by Ann’s campaign headquarters. It was early, and a couple of other people were arriving, but not many cars were in the parking lot. Ann arrived unexpectedly just as we pulled up. I walked over to introduce the new governor to my son. A crowd began gathering to see her, yet for several minutes Ann conversed with my son, taking time to be kind and make this child feel important on what was her most special day.
    After I moved to Austin two years ago, I saw Ann two last times at chance encounters. The first time was Labor Day weekend while I was volunteering at the Convention Center after Katrina. Ann and our current mayor were walking through discussing what could be done. No entourage trailed; no cameras took pictures. I went over to her and introduced myself and reminded her she had appointed me as chairman of a state agency years ago. She acted as if she knew me, although it is unlikely she actually remembered me – and thanked me for being there. She was charismatic, humble, and powerful. But mostly she was kind. She epitomized leadership.
Brenda H. Collier
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