Former Texas Gov. Ann Richards, the witty and flamboyant Democrat who went from homemaker to national political celebrity, died Wednesday night at her home surrounded by her family after a battle with cancer, a family spokeswoman said. She was 73.
Richards also focused on putting minority Texans on state boards and commissions. According to Austin American Statesman, "Of her nearly 3,000 appointments, some 46 percent were female, 15 percent were black, 20 percent were Hispanic and 2 percent were Asian American. Her predecessor, GOP Gov. Bill Clements, gave more than 80 percent of his appointments to Anglos and men."
Unlike Governor Bush and Perry, Ann Richards didn't execute many people as governor. However Ann Richards (D), never issued a death row pardon. Her use of the death penalty drew sharp criticism from various human rights groups including Amnesty International. Johnny Frank Garrett was executed while Richards was Governor. Amnesty International cited him as being "extremely mentally impaired, chronically psychotic and brain-damaged."
Bowing to the reality of the pro-death penalty Texas Legislature, Ann Richards was not a vocal critic of the Texas death penalty law while Governor. While campaigning for Governor, she was asked if she supported or opposed the death penalty. She said, 'I will uphold the laws of the State of Texas.' The reporter then asked, 'But what would you do if the Legislature passed a bill repealing the death penalty?' to which she replied, 'I would faint.'
More sources Ann Richards: