SAN ANTONIO-- Grace Garcia is being remembered for a smile that would light up the room.
Garcia was a graduate of Jefferson High in the SAISD. The 59-year-old was killed in a car crash Monday afternoon along I-35 E in Waxahachie.
Police said around 2:30 p.m. a man became pinned underneath a tractor while he was mowing grass along I-35. The 36-year-old died at the scene. An hour later as traffic slowed the vehicle Garcia was in stopped in traffic and was hit from behind by a semi-tractor trailer. Garcia was a passenger in that vehicle.
A staff member was driving and was hurt but survived the crash. Choco Gonzales Meza recalled former President Clinton announcing Amazing Grace when Garcia walked into the room once at an event. Garcia served as a Clinton aide and most recently served as Executive Director at Annie's List.
Annie's List is an organization founded in 2003 named for Dr. Annie Webb Blanton. Blanton was the first woman elected to statewide office in Texas.
Annie's List is committed to electing pro-choice Democratic women to office. Annie's List Board Chair Amber Anderson Mostyn Garcia said the staff member is in the ICU at Parkland Hospital and thoughts and prayers are appreciated at this time.
It is with a tremendous sense of loss that we announce the passing of our executive director and leader Grace Garcia, who lost her life in a car accident Monday afternoon.
Another staffer was injured in the crash and is in the intensive care unit at Parkland Hospital.
Grace's family has been notified and arrangements are pending. Her family will make an announcement regarding those arrangements in the coming days, said Mostyn. Grace Garcia was the passionate, tough, visionary leader we needed at Annie's List.
The best possible tribute to her life is to continue the work Grace started on behalf of Annie's List and women across Texas.Wendy Davis, candidate for governor, said Garcia was a friend and a woman with a rare combination of guts and tenderness.
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, said Davis. 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.
Garcia was headed to an event when the crash happened.
Senator Carlos Uresti released this statement:
Texans seeking honest, fair and moral treatment under our laws lost a champion and a friend today. I m saddened by the passing of Grace Garcia in an automobile accident. Grace in her personal life, and as Executive Director of Annie s list, was a fighter for opportunity--the opportunity for our daughters to have not only a voice, but a leading role in our future. We are better off today for all the effort, time, and energy Grace devoted to helping make Texas a better place for us all.
Garcia's mother still lives in San Antonio. Services for Garcia are pending.
Emily's List President Stephanie Schriock released this statement:
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.
Friends said Garcia played a critical role in laying the groundwork for Sen. Wendy Davis' campaign for Governor and in persuading her childhood friend, Sen. Leticia Van De Putte with who she attended Jefferson High School, to run for Lt. Governor. U.S. Representative Pete P. Gallego (D-Alpine) released the following statement:
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.
Ginny Goldman, executive director of the Texans Organizing Project said Garcia was a true Texas leader and friend.
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, said Goldman.