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Resolution honors Ann Arnold

The Texas House of Representatives, in a unanimous vote this morning, passed HR 188 by Rep. Chris Paddie.

The memorial resolution honors Ann Arnold of Austin, groundbreaking journalist, first female press secretary to a Texas governor, and longtime president of the Texas Association of Broadcasters.

Full text of the resolution follows...

83R4950 LB-D

By:  Paddie  

H.R. No. 188


WHEREAS, The State of Texas lost a groundbreaking journalist and tireless champion of open government with the death of Beverly Ann Arnold of Austin on September 1, 2012, at the age of 67; and

WHEREAS, Born on April 6, 1945, in Jackson, Mississippi, the former Ann Watson was the daughter of Bill and Mildred Watson; her interest in journalism was sparked as a young student in Little Rock, Arkansas, where the integration of Central High School in 1957 made the national news; following her family's move to Fort Worth, she began a newspaper in her junior high school and continued to write for the L. D. Bell High School newspaper and community publications until her graduation; and

WHEREAS, Mrs. Arnold attended Texas A&M University in Arlington and transferred to The University of Texas at Austin; throughout her years in college, she contributed to various papers, including the Daily Texan and the Dallas Times Herald, winning a Headliners award for her work in 1966; she graduated with a bachelor's degree in journalism in 1968 and that same year married her high school sweetheart, Reg Arnold; and

WHEREAS, In the 1970s, when few women worked in the Capitol Press Corps, Mrs. Arnold joined the Capitol bureau of UPI and covered the actions of the state legislature as well as a number of controversial stories, including the Sharpstown scandal; she embarked on a career with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in 1980 and, while interviewing governor-elect Mark White, was offered a job; she soon became the first female press secretary to a Texas governor; and

WHEREAS, Later, Mrs. Arnold served as president of the Texas Association of Broadcasters, and over the course of her more than two decades in that role, membership doubled and programs significantly expanded; under her able leadership, TAB became a strong backer of the state's open government laws and lobbied for an improved emergency alert system; Mrs. Arnold oversaw the creation of a new permanent office for TAB and expanded the Texas Broadcast Education Foundation's endowment; in 2008, TAB honored her with its first Lifetime Achievement award; and

WHEREAS, Mrs. Arnold also worked closely with legislators to pass the Texas Free Flow of Information Act and the Texas Citizens Participation Act; in recognition of her diligent efforts, the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas presented her with its James Madison Award in 2001; moreover, she served as the president of the National Alliance of State Broadcasters Associations in 2005; and

WHEREAS, In all her endeavors, Mrs. Arnold enjoyed the love and support of her husband and their sons, Merle and Jonathan; and

WHEREAS, A stalwart advocate of the people's right to information, Ann Arnold will be deeply missed, but her courage, tenacity, and vision will forever inspire all who had the good fortune to know her; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the House of Representatives of the 83rd Texas Legislature hereby pay tribute to the life of Beverly Ann Arnold and extend sincere sympathy to the members of her family: to her sons, Merle Arnold and his wife, Julie, and Jonathan Arnold; to her sister, Sue March; and to her other relatives and many friends; and, be it further

RESOLVED, That an official copy of this resolution be prepared for the members of her family and that when the Texas House of Representatives adjourns this day, it do so in memory of Ann Arnold.

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