RIP, Ann Richards

Farewell to a trail-blazing Southern Democrat:
In four years as governor, Richards championed what she called the "New Texas," appointing more women and more minorities to state posts than any of her predecessors.

She appointed the first black University of Texas regent; the first crime victim to join the state Criminal Justice Board; the first disabled person to serve on the human services board; and the first teacher to lead the State Board of Education. Under Richards, the fabled Texas Rangers pinned stars on their first black and female officers.

She polished Texas' image, courted movie producers, championed the North American Free Trade Agreement, oversaw an expansion of the state prison system, and presided over rising student achievement scores and plunging dropout rates.

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