Portraits of Texas Governors  > Modern Texas Part 1, 1949-1973  > Modern Texas Part 2, 1973-1991  >  Modern Texas Part 3, 1991-Present (this page)
Portraits of Texas Governors

Modern Texas Part 3, 1991-present

Ann W. Richards

Ann Richards

January 15, 1991 - January 17, 1995



Link - Speech to Washington Gridiron

Speech to Washington Gridiron






Born: Dorothy Ann Willis was born September 1, 1933, in Lakeview, Texas

Early Career: Richards received a bachelor's degree from Baylor University and a teaching certificate from the University of Texas. She taught social studies and history at Fulmore Junior High School in Austin before raising her family. She also spent much of her time volunteering for political campaigns and causes, especially those focusing on civil rights and economic justice. Richards entered politics in 1976, winning election as a Travis county commissioner. Six years later in 1982 she was elected state treasurer, the first woman elected to statewide office in Texas in fifty years. She was credited with greatly modernizing the operations of the treasury. Reelected in 1986, she gained national prominence when she delivered the keynote address at the 1988 Democratic National Convention.

Accomplishments: Ann Richards oversaw a revival of the state's economic fortunes. She stressed government efficiency by authorizing comprehensive audits of every state agency. She focused on education as well, introducing site-based management to put more power in the hands of the parents and teachers at the campus level. In the area of law enforcement, Richards increased prison space, cut the release of violent offenders, introduced a substance abuse program in Texas prisons, and opposed the sale of assault weapons and "cop-killer" bullets. Richards was also noted for her unprecedented appointments of women and minorities to important posts. During her administration a state lottery was approved and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was passed.

Great excitement surrounded the plans for the federal government to build a huge particle accelerator in Waxahachie. The superconducting supercollider was to be used by nuclear physicists to observe atomic structures. However, the program was ended in 1993 when government funding was stopped.

Later years: Richards worked as a consultant and served on several corporate boards. She died on September 13, 2006.

Handbook of Texas article about Governor Ann Richards

View Photographs of Governor Ann Richards

Link - NAFTA speech

Speech on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)


Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm)

Civil war in Yugoslavia

Soviet Union breaks up into independent states

Boris Yeltsin becomes Russian president

Popular TV shows include The Simpsons and Seinfeld

Nirvana popularizes "grunge" sound

"Rodney King" riots in Los Angeles

Compact discs surpass cassette tapes as most popular music medium

Nov 1992

Kay Bailey Hutchison becomes first woman senator from Texas

World Trade Center bombed in New York

Apr 19 1993

Branch Davidian compound burns in Waco

Schindler's List

Thousands dead in Rwanda massacre

Nelson Mandela becomes South African president

O.J. Simpson arrested for murder

World Wide Web and e-mail gain widespread use


George W. Bush

George W. Bush

January 17, 1995 - December 21, 2000





Born: July 6, 1946, in New Haven, Connecticut

Early Career: The son of President George Herbert Walker Bush, George W. Bush grew up in Midland. He received a bachelor's degree from Yale University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He served as an F-102 pilot for the Texas Air National Guard. He began his career in the oil and gas business in Midland in 1975 and worked in the energy industry until 1986. After working on his father's 1988 presidential campaign he assembled the group of partners that purchased the Texas Rangers baseball franchise in 1989 and which later built the Ballpark at Arlington. He served as managing general partner of the Texas Rangers until his election as governor.

Accomplishments: Bush became known for his ability to work with individuals of both parties in a non-confrontational manner, and thus he was able to please many constituencies in the state. His stance on crime, drugs, and the death penalty, along with large tax cuts and welfare reform with sterner work requirements, endeared him to conservatives. At the same time, Bush promoted substantial state spending on public education and bilingual programs, which pleased many Hispanics and other traditionally Democratic voters. His education measures also included testing as a means of ensuring teacher accountability and educational choice through charter schools. Bush won a smashing reelection victory in 1998.

The national Republican party took note and nominated Bush as their presidential candidate in 2000. Following an exceptionally difficult and controversial vote count, Bush became the first governor of Texas to be elected to the nation's highest office.

Later years: George W. Bush was inaugurated as the 43rd president of the United States on January 20, 2001.

View Photographs of Governor George W. Bush


U.S. rescues Mexican economy with $20 billion aid program

Popular TV shows include E.R. and Friends

O.J. Simpson trial

Bombing of Oklahoma City federal building

45 million people on the Internet

Dolly, first cloned sheep

Titanic is highest-grossing film of all time

J.K. Rowling introduces Harry Potter

U.S. intervention in Kosovo

Jun 7 1998

James Byrd Jr. dragged to death in Jasper, Texas. White supremacists found guilty of the crime, two sentenced to death

White House sex scandal

First balanced federal budget in 30 years

Viagra approved for male impotence

Y2K fizzles

Computer viruses

Columbine High School massacre

Mexico elects Vincente Fox as president, ending 71 years of one-party rule


George W. Bush becomes president of the United States

James Richard Perry

December 21, 2000 - January 20, 2015

Photo courtesy of the Office of the Governor. Official portraits of Texas governors are commissioned after the governor's term of office is completed.







Born: March 4, 1950, in Haskell County, Texas

Early Career: A fifth-generation Texan, Rick Perry grew up on the family ranch in Paint Creek, 60 miles north of Abilene. He earned a degree in animal science from Texas A&M University, then served in the U.S. Air Force for five years, seeing duty as a C-130 pilot in the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East. Leaving the service as a captain, Perry joined his father in the family farm and ranch business. He was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1984. He was elected agriculture commissioner in 1990 and served two terms. In 1998, he was elected lieutenant governor. When George W. Bush resigned his office to become president, Rick Perry became the governor of Texas.

Perry was elected governor in his own right in 2002. He was re-elected in 2006 and 2010.



Sep 11 2001

Terrorist attacks kill thousands at World Trade Center, Pentagon, and Pennsylvania

U.S. troops go to war in Afghanistan, Iraq


American Idol

Blogs, MySpace, Facebook

Monster tsunami kills over 150,000 in Asia

Terry Schiavo "right to die" debate

August 29, 2005

Hurricane Katrina blasts New Orleans and Mississippi Coast, kills 1800 people; Texas accepts a quarter of a million refugees

September 24, 2005

Hurricane Rita brings $10 billion in damage to Lousiana and Texas Gulf Coast

Iran nuke threat


Iraq troop "surge"

Oil reaches record prices

June 8, 2008

Texas Governor's Mansion torched by an arsonist; restoration effort begins immediately

Economic downturn

Drug cartel violence on the Texas-Mexico border

Pilot's landing averts tragedy in "Miracle on the Hudson"

November 5, 2009

Gunman kills 13 in massacre at Fort Hood army base in Killeen

Catastrophic earthquake kills 220,000 in Haiti

Heath care reform

Tablet computers

April 20 2010

Offshore explosion causes massive oil spill in Gulf of Mexico

August 31 2010

End of U.S. combat role in Iraq

"Don't ask, don't tell" ban on gays in the military overturned

Gregory Abbott







Born: November 13, 1957 in Wichita Falls, Texas

Early Career: Abbott received a bachelor's degree from the University of Texas at Austin in finance.  In 1984, he earned his J.D. frm the Vanderbilt University Law School in Nashville, Tennessee.  He was appointed by then Texas governor George W. Bush to the Texas Supreme Court.  He served as Associate Justice from 1995 to 2001.  In 2001, he returned to private law pratice and worked as an adjunct professor at the University of Texas School of Law.  In 2002, Abbott was elected Attorney General of Texas, an office he served in from 2002 to 2015.

Abbott was elected governor in the 2014 election.  He assumed office on January 20, 2015.



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Page last modified: June 29, 2022