Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify the quote from Barb Rush. She said, "Ann Richards once said, when asked what she would do different, ‘Give them more hell.’ Here’s to the hell raisers!”
The Grayson County Democratic women honored two of their own Thursday night at the Seventh Biennial Eleanor Roosevelt Dinner at Austin College.
Barb Rush received the Ann Richards award and Rhonda Marroquin received the Eleanor Roosevelt award. Judge Maria T. Jackson, of the 339th state District Court in Houston, served as the keynote speaker for the event and told the audience about her race for the presiding judge seat of the Court of Criminal Appeals.
Rush kept her acceptance speech short and sweet.
“Ann Richards once said, when asked what she would do different, 'Give them more hell.' Here's to the hell raisers!” Rush said before taking her seat.
While Rush didn't say much to those who came to celebrate her, the program for the dinner did have a lot of information about here. She has served as the vice-chair of the Grayson County Democratic Party since 2012 and has been a part of the party since 1972 when she first volunteered on George McGovern's campaign. In addition to McGovern, Rush has worked on many campaigns, including those for Barack Obama and Wendy Davis. These days, Rush manages the websites and social media sites for the Grayson County Democrats and helps to recruit candidates to run in local elections.
“Barb has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to the Democratic Party and personifies through her service and action the beliefs and values of the party,” the program said about Rush. “Barb Rush is precisely the type of woman the Ann Richards Award seeks to honor.”
Rush wasn't the only person honored at the dinner. Marroquin volunteers for a number of local causes including United Way, March of Dimes, Sherman PTA, National Night Out, Partners in Education, Sherman Cheer Boosters Club and the Hispanic Heritage Council. She said she does it all to see the joy in others.
“When I see a smile on someone's face, that is all of the payment I need,” Marroquin said of the work she has done in the community for the past 20 years.
Marroquin also said she doesn't do all of that work alone. Marroquin credited her family for helping even when they would sometimes rather not. She has held most positions with the Hispanic Heritage Council and has been president for four consecutive years.
As the keynote speaker for the night, Jackson urged attendees to remember that people are placed in their lives for a reason and they should be their best self wherever they are in life. That awful boss, she said, might be preparing you for a big promotion that is coming down the line. She also urged people to remember there is always more to a situation than what they can see on the surface.
Jackson said people need a chance to prove that they can change for the better and we should be willing to give one another that chance. Additionally, Jackson said all people want respect and it is up to everyone to try to give it in most situations. She said that to get the respect that women want in society, there needs to be more women in leadership roles and she praised the number of Democratic women running for office in Grayson County.