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A Democrat, she first came to national attention as the state treasurer of Texas, when she delivered the keynote address at the 1988 Democratic National Convention.
Richards served as the 45th Governor of Texas from 1991 to 1995 and was defeated for re-election in 1994 by George W. Ann Richards was born Dorothy Ann Willis in Lakeview (now part of Lacy Lakeview), in Mc Lennan County, Texas, the only child of Robert Cecil Willis and Mildred Iona Warren.
She grew up in Waco, participated in Girls State, and graduated from Waco High School in 1950.
She attended Baylor University on a Debate team scholarship, and earned a bachelor's degree.
After marrying high school sweetheart David "Dave" Richards, she moved to Austin, where she earned a teaching certificate from the University of Texas. By the 1970s, Richards was an accomplished political worker, having worked to elect liberal Democrats Sarah Weddington and Wilhelmina Delco to the Texas Legislature, and having presented training sessions throughout the state on campaign techniques for women candidates and managers.
David and Ann Richards had four children named Cecile, Daniel, Clark, and Ellen. She supported ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment to the U. Constitution, presenting the amendment to the delegates of the National Women's Conference, held in Houston in 1978, but the amendment was never ratified by enough states to become part of the Constitution.
Richards taught social studies and history at Fulmore Junior High School in Austin from 1955–1956. In 1976, Richards ran against and defeated a three-term incumbent on the four-member Travis County, Texas Commissioners' Court; she took 81.4 percent of the vote against Libertarian opponent Laurel Freeman to win re-election in 1980.
She campaigned for Texas liberals and progressives such as Henry B. During this time, her marriage ended, in part because of the strain of politics on the relationship.
Richards' drinking became more pronounced, and she sought and completed treatment for alcoholism in 1980. president of the same name), became mired in legal troubles in 1982, Richards won the Democratic nomination for that post.