The Lessons Ann Richards Provides For Future Leaders

The sounds of Texas.

By Joy Diaz & Laura RiceSeptember 29, 2020 12:50 pm, ,

Mary Beth Rogers was a friend of Ann Richards. She ran her general election campaign for Texas governor in 1990 and served as her first chief of staff.

“When Ann Richards became governor of Texas in 1990, she was the first woman to really break through into the power structure of the state of Texas. It was a time of tremendous hope. She ran on the campaign to create a new Texas where the doors would be open to all who had previously been denied access to state government offices and policies. And that was largely women, people of color. And I was fortunate enough to be along for the ride.”

Ann Richards during her term as Texas governor. Kenneth C. Zirkel /Wikimedia Commons [ CC BY-SA]

“There’s a lot of controversy about different styles of management of the men and women, but on the whole, people who have relationship with their followers and can encourage them and inspire them can do remarkable things in government. I think Ann was a rare, inspirational leader that few of us have seen. You know, a lot of politicians are pretty pedestrian. And there’s no doubt that Ann Richards had a flair and drew people to her.”

“There was a very personal touch that Ann brought to public office. If we if we got an inquiry about a problem that somebody was having, we would assign someone to go figure out how to help them solve it. We had to staff up the office of correspondence in the governor’s office because we were getting 7,000 pieces of mail a week. And you can’t always solve somebody’s problem, but you can let them know you’ve heard. And maybe that was unique or particular kind of female leadership. I don’t know. I think any good politician, any good officeholder should be responsive to constituents.”

If you found the reporting above valuable, please consider making a donation to support it here. Your gift helps pay for everything you find on and Thanks for donating today.