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Ann Richards swearing in Glen Maxey in 1991 photo by Alan Pogue Mad Dog Inc., “Performing Ineffable Services for Mankind,” grew out of this rich soil, with Bud Shrake and Gary Cartwright, two of the finest writers this state ever produced, at the center of much of this advanced form of mischief. \(Well, who threw whom through the base drum at the nightclub in Mexico? It Young Democrats at UT. In those days women got to make Kleenex roses for the floats in various political parades. Ann worked as Sarah Weddington’s campaign manager in Weddington’s first legislative race and then Ann ran for county commissioner in 1976, mostly because nobody else would. She loved to tell the story of how the guys at the equipment barn found this mangy ol’ hound and named it “Ann.” In 1980, Ann’s family and a few friends arranged an intervention in her drinking, which was by then out of control. She was rather a mean drunk, given to saying unkind things about people, but she was also hilariously funny. I think she was the first woman I ever knew who talked about menopause in public, part of a very funny routine in questionable taste. She went to “drunk school” as Bullock called it, at St. Mary’s in Minnesota and never drank again. But she reacted badly to the intervention, holding a grudge over it for some time that included her children. Ann spent time in “the rooms” of Alcoholics Anonymous, crying on the sofa like everyone else who’s had the disease. She also had fantastically funny “drunkologue,” and was a wildly popular speaker at big conventions of people who work in the field of recovery. Over time, she must have handwritten hundreds of letters of encouragement to those of us trying to sober up. Although anonymity in AA is not to be broken even after death, the fact is Ann was a public ex-drunk. She was not only proud of what she had done, she helped untold numbers of others. She saved a lot of lives. When Ann first ran for statewide office in 1982, you could feel it: the start of a movement. Those women with big hair and big purses in Amarillo and Abilene flocked to hear her. She said that running the treasurer’s office was just like balancing a checkbook “except more zeroes.” That quaint simile is in fact true. “Women are trained to detail, and we are expected to juggle a lot of balls at once,” she would say. In fact, motherhood is splendid training for politics. All good mothers know what to do when there’s two kids and one cookie, and all good mothers know what to do when there are two kids in the back seat hitting each other, each one of them claiming the other one started it. All political problems are merely variations of those two situations. Ann went around the treasurer’s office asking bureaucrats who had never been consulted before in their working lives how to make the place work better. At the end of a year, she had cut the time it took the state to process checks from a day and a half to an hour and a half, gaining $9 million a year in interest for Texas. By the end of her first year, the work force was 60 percent white, 18 percent black, 22 percent Hispanic, continued on page 19 OCTOBER 6, 2006 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 9