The Senate on Thursday honored the life and service of former Governor Mark White, who passed away last Saturday at the age of 77. Members highlighted his years of service beginning with his appointment as Secretary of State in 1973, praising him for his commitment to education reform and service to the people of Texas.
After his term as Secretary of State ended in 1977, he was elected Attorney General in 1979 and served one term before running for Governor in 1982. He served one term in that office which saw the passage of major education reforms that still affect students today. White championed the bill that implemented “No Pass No Play”, the requirement that high school student athletes maintain a passing grade point average in order to participate in scholastic sports. He also oversaw the implementation of the first standardized testing requirements and pushed for, and won, a twenty-six percent increase in education spending. White was also instrumental in bringing some of the first high-tech industries to Texas, leading to the state’s reputation today as one of the top places for technology business to locate.
McAllen Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa rose to remember the man who he worked for as Secretary of State, who appointed him to head up the San Antonio regional office of the State Attorney General, and who he served with as a House member in the early Eighties. “Governor White would come into the office always smiling, always full of energy, always glowing,” said Hinojosa. “He would stop and shake hands with each one of the staff people in his office. He was an unbelievable person.”
White lay in state in the Capitol Rotunda for three hours Thursday afternoon and hundreds of current and former state officials and citizens attended to show their respects. Governor White will be interred at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin.