Texas Democrats Mourn The Loss of Grace Garcia, Honor Her Work

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Grace Garcia flanked by the Clintons. She worked on Bill's first campaign and later served as an aide to Secretary Clinton.

As news spread about the tragic loss of Annie's List Executive Director Grace Garcia on Monday to a car accident in Waxahachie, the Texas progressive movement made its sorrow known while taking a moment to honor the work that she was known for.

Below the jump, read what some of our Democratic organizations, public servants, and candidates have to say about the tremendous legacy of Grace Garcia.

And if you haven't had a chance to read Harold Cook's personal essay about Grace, it's worth your time to get to know this dynamic woman who was taken far too soon.  Wendy Davis, Democratic Candidate for Governor and State Senator:

“I have been profoundly blessed to have shared moments of my life with my friend, Grace Garcia, a woman with a rare combination of guts and tenderness who I will deeply miss. Where others saw challenges, Grace saw possibilities and was always inspiring others to believe in her vision. That's why, under her guidance, Annie's List had its most extraordinary year ever. Her absence in the landscape of Texas politics and what she meant to us personally will leave a void that simply cannot be filled.

Grace did so much for me and for countless Texas women. She was a part of this extraordinary journey we've been working on together that wouldn't have been possible without her. I know she will be with us every step of the way in our hearts and will continue to inspire us every single day.

My thoughts and prayers are with her family at this time. I am deeply saddened by this tragic and sudden loss.”

Leticia Van de Putte, Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor and State Senator:

“Today, Pete and I remember the life and work of our lifelong and dear friend Grace Ann Garcia. She was a fierce warrior for Texas women and equality. Texas has lost a giant.

“To me, it was an honor to call her my sister, she was like family. I will be forever indebted to Grace. She was always there for me and for my family. She was at the decision table convincing me to run for lieutenant governor.

“Our test in life is to leave this place better than when we got here, to be good gente and do right by others. Grace met that test and this country is a better place because she lived.

“I will never forget her. Tenemos un √°ngel mas en el cielo.

State Senator Sylvia Garcia:

“It is with a heavy heart that I must say goodbye to my dear friend and colleague, Grace Garcia.  I've worked with Grace for many years and admired her commitment to public policy.  She has been a leader in so many ways, from her time with the state, at the General Land Office, to serving under President Bill Clinton, to working as a senior advisor to Hillary Clinton, and now as Executive Director of Annie's List.  It was only last year that Texas welcomed her back home, and it's far too soon for us to have to say goodbye.  She has always been at the forefront of public service, and her depth of knowledge and kind spirit will be deeply missed.  In short, she has been an inspiration to women everywhere, particularly the Latina community.  My thoughts and prayers go out to her many friends and family at this time.”

Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa:

“It is with a heavy heart that we must say goodbye to our friend Grace Ann Garcia. Grace was tough and driven with an unparalleled commitment to the women of Texas. With her sudden and tragic passing Texans have lost a true leader.

“She was a Texas Democrat in every sense of the word. We know the best way to honor her legacy is to work towards getting more Democrats elected across Texas – so we plan to do just that.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Grace's family, friends, and our allies at Annie's List.”

State Representative Trey Martinez Fischer:

“Words can't describe the grief we feel with the loss of Grace. We send our prayers and condolences to the Garcia family and to all those who knew her and were touched by her life. As we grieve, the best way to honor her is to remain steadfast in our efforts to help create the Texas Grace worked so hard to achieve.”

Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Texas Votes Yvonne Gutierrez:

“Texas has lost an incredible woman. Grace Garcia was a fighter on behalf of all Texas women. She believed in a world where women were supported, treated as equals, and in leadership positions to effect that change. She loved Texas, and worked tirelessly to make our state a better place for women. And she was a dear friend to all of us at PPTV, and countless women and men in Texas and across the country. The women of Texas are stronger because Grace Garcia was among us. Our thoughts and prayers are with Grace's family and the courageous staff at Annie's List.”

EMILY's President Stephanie Schriock:

“Yesterday, the EMILY's List community – and the women's movement – lost a leader, a visionary, and a friend. Grace Garcia never backed down from a challenge: not as a Democrat in Texas, or a woman in rooms that weren't used to making room at the table. Grace was a force to be reckoned with – a woman with a vision that was every bit as big as Texas. We are lucky to have known and been inspired by her. I'm lucky to have called her a friend.”

Lone Star Project Director Matt Angle:

“On behalf of all us at the Lone Star Project, we share in the grief of other friends and colleagues who were enriched and inspired by Grace. She was a woman of enormous strength and talent whose dignity and integrity brought out the very best in all those around her, particularly the young women who admired her and learned so much from her. Grace's life was devoted to public service where she used her great talents to lead by example, showing others the value and rewards of serving our country and our great state.”

Libby Willis, Democratic candidate for SD-10:

“The loss of Grace Garcia in a tragic car accident yesterday near Waxahachie is stunning to all of us who knew her and the good work she has done for so many years.  We are thinking of her family and her friends and have been praying for them since this news came.

I got to know Grace because of her commitment to Annie's List and the women of Texas.  She was clear-eyed and tough, smart and strategic, and so gracious in doing everything she could to help those of us who are candidates realize our goals.

Our country and our state are better places because of the work Grace did.  Her vision of electing more women to the Texas Legislature is one we will continue to hold dear and work harder to achieve as a tribute to her memory.  The sudden loss of Grace is a reminder that life is fragile and can be short.  Grace made every day count and for that we are grateful.

May God bless her and help us all to keep her memory as a constant inspiration.”

Ginny Goldman, Executive Director, Texas Organizing Project:

“Annie's List has been an invaluable partner to us over the years, and the partnership was strengthened immensely when Grace Garcia took the reins last year.  Her energy, skill, creativity and no-nonsense approach to politics was refreshing and exciting.  It was clear to all who knew her how deeply Grace loved Texas, and how much she believed that together we could make it a place where real people's needs are reflected in public office.  

“We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of a true Texas leader and friend. In her honor, we will work even harder to move our state forward.”

Congressman Pete Gallego:

“I join many Texans and national leaders in offering my most sincere condolences to the family of Grace Garcia. She died Monday afternoon in a vehicle accident in Waxahachie, Texas. Grace was a friend of many, a fellow Longhorn, a leader, a grassroots organizer and a political activist – truly a gem of Texas.

“Grace exemplified public service. She served in two Presidential Administrations – most recently serving in the protocol office of State Department. Grace was truly a gracious woman in her work and in her personal life. She cared about people, public policy and she cared about Texas.

“Grace will be missed by those who called her a friend – she had many. May God bring comfort and peace to her family and loved ones during this trying time. Grace will live in our hearts and memories forever. Rest in peace, Grace.”

About Author

Katherine Haenschen

Katherine Haenschen is a PhD candidate at the University of Texas, where she studies political participation on digital media. She has previously managed successful candidate, issue, voter registration, and GOTV campaigns in Austin. In addition to serving as the president of Austin Young Democrats, she is also UCONN's #1 fan in Texas.

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