Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Miriam "Ma" Ferguson First Female Governor of Texas

Miriam "Ma" Ferguson, the first female governor of Texas was the wife of James "Pa" Ferguson.

Pa Ferguson began serving as the governor of Texas in 1915. He was impeached and removed from office in 1917, along with being banned for life from running for office in Texas.

Ma Ferguson won the governorship, serving a full term from 1925 til 1927. At that point in time Texas a governor served two year terms.

Ma Ferguson ran and won again, serving from 1933 til 1935.

In her first campaign for governor Ma Ferguson told voters she would follow the advice of her impeached husband, giving Texas "two governors for the price of one."

Among Ma Ferguson's campaign slogans was "Me for Ma, and I Ain't Got a Durned Thing Against Pa."

The Fergusons and their Ferguson brand of populism, to this day, are a controversial subject in Texas. "Fergusonism" was the popular term used to describe the Ferguson type of politicking.

Ma and Pa were Democrats,and thus sort of progressive. Ma and Pa did not drink, but Ma sided with the "Wets" in the fight to end Prohibition. Ma Ferguson strongly opposed the Ku Klux Klan. Ma Ferguson advocated a state sales tax and corporate income tax.

One of the more infamous quotes attributed to Ma Ferguson, regarding the issue of bilingualism is Texas schools, "If English was good enough for Jesus Christ, it ought to be good enough for the children of Texas.”

That goofy quote is something some Texas politicians might be heard saying in modern day Texas. Though Ma Ferguson is widely believed to have suggested Jesus spoke English, many scholarly sorts dispute this.

During Ma Ferguson's first term as governor she issued a lot of pardons, averaging over 100 a month. There were accusations that one could buy a pardon from Ma Ferguson. This lead to attempts to impeach her.

Another rumor persisted that Texas state highway contracts only went to those who advertised in Ma's newspaper, the Ferguson Forum. This rumor was investigated but no criminal charges resulted from the investigation.

Texas has had two females governors. Ma and Anne Richards. Wendy Davis would make number three.I don't think Wendy Davis will be as "colorful" a  governor as was Ma Ferguson.

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