Mayor Sylvester Turner and Sissy Farenthold

Statement by Mayor Sylvester Turner on the passing of Sissy Farenthold:

Frances “Sissy” Farenthold’s life was an inspiration to women, people of color, and the powerless. She came from a privileged upbringing but possessed a sincere desire and ability to connect with Texans from all walks of life. Sissy believed that every person deserved to be treated fairly regardless of where they were born, their gender, or the color of their skin. 

She was a dogged defender of civil rights and a fierce advocate for women in public office. I will always admire her courage to campaign for the Texas House of Representatives and run twice for governor at a time when women did not run for public office. She won against the odds, and in 1968, she was the only woman serving in the Texas House. Sissy never allowed a male-dominated legislative body to discourage her from using her voice and intelligence to make a difference in the lives of all Texans. 

Now more than ever, Texas needs leaders who can unite rather than divide us and who dare to fight for abortion rights, voting access, the poor, and families and children. 

I will miss Sissy Farenthold. There will never be another like her.


Sissy Farenthold was an icon to Texas progressives, inspiring countless people in our state and across our nation to become politically active. A steadfast champion of the disenfranchised and marginalized, Sissy worked tirelessly to create a more just society. Her honesty and decency revitalized Texans’ faith in their representatives at a time when corruption and cronyism in the state legislature made many distrust their government.

“As a lawyer, legislator, activist, and humanitarian par excellence Sissy was keenly aware of the injustices in our society. She always voted with her conscience, even when it cost her politically. She was a strong proponent of a woman’s right to choose and staunchly opposed the death penalty.

“It is with immense sadness that I mourn the passing of my dear friend and mentor, Sissy Farenthold. Without her, I would certainly not be where I am today. She inspired me to run for public office and I am blessed to have had the opportunity to learn from her. (US Congressman Al Green)

I send my deepest condolences to the family of Frances Farenthold — an icon and a guiding star for Democrats in the state of Texas. She was an unwavering voice for all Texans — especially the most marginalized. In 1968, Representative Farenthold was the only woman elected to the Texas House, she led a revolt against corruption, then overcame long odds to twice become a serious candidate for Texas governor. In 1972, she was a contender to be the Democratic Party’s nominee for vice president, opening the door more than a decade before Geraldine A. Ferraro became the first to be chosen for that office by a major party. She was a lifelong advocate for civil rights and social justice. Through her inspiring leadership and progressive political efforts, millions have a better life because of her fight for a better future for all Texans. We are deeply saddened by her passing. I am incredibly grateful for her over 60 years of activism, her leadership as a Texas Democrat, and the many ways she shaped our Party for the better. Our thoughts are with her family, loved ones, and all who knew this remarkable woman. (Gilbert Hinojosa, chair of the Texas Democratic Party)

I am saddened to hear of the passing of Frances “Sissy” Farenthold. Representative Farenthold was a trailblazer and a leader in Texas politics during a time when women were fighting for a seat at the table.  In 1968, she was the only woman elected to the 150-member Texas House of Representatives, where she shaped policy that would create better lives for generations of Texans. She spent her entire political career advocating for those who were cut out from the democratic process. She fought for civil rights, women’s rights, and real opportunity for every Texan — and as such, she was the national face of Texas progressives for more than a generation and a beacon to women of both her time and ours. Representative  Farenthold will be greatly missed, but her legacy will live on — especially amongst Democratic women in Texas who are leading every day in this state because she paved the way for all women in politics. (Dr. Carla Brailey, vice-chair of the Texas Democratic Party)

The Texas Drought Project mourns the loss of Frances “Sissy” Farenthold.  Some of us were privileged to work with Sissy for over 50 years, advocating on behalf of rights around the world, promoting an end to the death penalty, opposing the involvement of the U.S. in Central America and Iraq, and championing immediate action on climate change.  She will live on as we redouble our efforts with her inspiration and in her memory. (Texas Drought Project)