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Former TX Governor Mark Wells White, Jr., (D) passes away at the age of 77

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Unless any of y'all have been living under a rock or on vacation for months, the Lone Star State has lost another great legend in TX Politics: former TX Governor Mark Wells White, Jr., (D) passed away over the weekend from a heart attack in Houston at the age of 77.


White served as TX's 43rd Governor from January 18th, 1983 to January 20th, 1987. During his 4 years in the TX Governor's Mansion, White focused his energies on education reform including the controversial "No Pass/No Play" & utility regulation. He also concentrated on economic development & the appointment of women & minorities to positions on his staff & in the state government. The Lone Star State's Sesquicentennial occurred in 1986 & the Governor attended & hosted a number of events. The Goddess of Liberty was restored & planning for the State Capitol restoration began under his administration.


Among White's appointments was Elena Salinas Ender as the first Latina to serve as a judge of a district court in TX. He also appointed Mayra McDaniel as the first African American to serve as Legal Counsel to the Governor.


He previously served as Assistant State Attorney General under then-State AG Crawford Martin (D) from (1969 to 1972) & also served as the 74th TX Secretary of State(an appointed position) under then-Governor Dolph Briscoe (D), serving from January 19th, 1973 to October 27th, 1977. During his tenure as the state's Chief Election Officer, he streamlined operations & made his office more responsive to the public. White was elected President of the National Association of Secretaries of State in 1977. He was the youngest Secretary of State ever elected to the Association's highest office. He was also elected Treasurer & Secretary of the Association. White also served as a member of the Federal Elections Commission Advisory Panel on Voter Registration.


White also served in the 36th Infantry Division of the TX National Guard.


Following his resignation as TX Secretary of State on October 27th, 1977, White began to run for TX State AG in the 1978 elections: first defeated former State House Speaker Price Daniel, Jr., (D-Liberty) in the Dem Primary & Houston businessman & GOP political power-broker affiliated with the Bush family, James A. Baker, III [R]. White garnered 1, 249, 846 votes & (55.13%) to Baker's 999 431 votes  & (44.08%).  As the state's Law Enforcement Chief, White co-chaired the Federal-State Enforcement Coordinating Committee & was a member of the Governor's Organized Crime Prevention Council. On the national level, he was the Chairman of the Southern Conference of Attorneys General in May of 1981.


In 1982, White did not seek reelection as State AG to run for the Governorship. First, he defeated Railroad Commissioner Buddy Temple (D) & 4-term Commissioner of the General Land Office Bob Armstrong (D) in the May 1st, 1982 Dem Primary election, once Temple declined to participate in the runoff. On November 2nd of that year, White came from behind to defeat the incumbent Governor, William Perry "Bill" Clements [R], who was the first GOP Governor in TX history since Reconstruction. White polled 1 697, 870 votes (53.21%) to Clements' 1,465, 937 votes (45.94%). However, Clements successfully made a comeback in defeating White in their 1986 rematch. In 1990, White made another comeback attempt in reclaiming the Governor's Mansion, but was unsuccessful, falling in 3rd place in the Dem Primary, losing to then-State Treasurer Ann Richards (D: who went on to win the Governorship) & then-State AG Jim Mattox (D).


Services for the former TX Governor have been announced:


Funeral Service: Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

11:00 AM

Second Baptist Church

6400 Woodway Drive

Houston, TX 77057


Lying in Repose: Thursday, August 10th, 2017

12:00 PM, NOON to 3:00 PM

TX State Capitol Rotunda

1100 Congress Avenue

Austin, TX 78701


Final Resting Place:

TX State Cemetery

909 Navasota Street

Austin, TX 78702




Here's video of his Inauguration Address from January 18th, 1983:






1983-01-18 Governor White taking the Oath of Office from TX Supreme Court Chief Justice Jack Pope.png

Edited by Blue Dogs
Included the picture from White's Inauguration as the 43rd Governor on January 18th, 1983.
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