Governor Ann Richards , 1992 . Photo by Kenneth C . Zirkel via Wikimedia Commons .
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The singer ’ s baritone bounced off the granite and igneous outcroppings and gave his voice a magisterial resonance not possible on a honky-tonk stage . Between riffs he told the story of a pivotal moment in his musical career , a call from Willie Nelson expressing interest in recording a Fromholz lyric .
“ I said yes , of course ,” he told the campers . “ Ya don ’ t say no to Willie . Then I went back on the road and forgot about it . Got home several months later and there was check on the table from the recording company . I had become a multi-thousandaire .”
The Governor ’ s subsequent laughter sounded as much like an emotional release to me as it did an appreciation of Fromholz ’ punchline . She was anticipating a campaign against a former president ’ s son , George W . Bush , and it had seemed to a few associates and a handful of pundits that she did not have the spirit for the fight . The governor had acquired an impression that her accomplishments in the job had been underappreciated . Recent polls had shown that male voters had backed away from her after a speech to high school girls at the legislature when she warned that their future husbands were likely to leave them alone with “ the kids , the mortgage , and the Volkswagen payments .”
Was she being a bit too honest for a candidate seeking reelection ?
One of the programs of which Richards was proudest involved a retraining effort that had been entitled , “ Smart Jobs .” When technology began to emerge as an economic force in Texas , and oil faltered , the governor had gotten the legislature to fund an effort to teach displaced energy workers how to function in the