b. 1940 – Henderson, Texas
A graduate of Lamar High School in Houston, White earned a business degree at Baylor University, then studied law. He practiced law before becoming an assistant attorney general, and then returned to private practice.
White served as secretary of state and attorney general before defeating incumbent William P. Clements in the gubernatorial race in 1982. He championed education reform and reorganized the State Board of Education which increased teachers’ salaries, called for teacher testing, and instituted “no pass, no play.” He sought passage of workers’ compensation for farm workers and implemented the Texas seat belt law. After the price of oil collapsed, White championed budget cuts and tax increases. Defeated by William Clements, White stated in his farewell address: “I asked for a tax increase and said, ‘Blame me,’ and you did.” He ran again in 1990 but was defeated by Ann Richards.