Mark White

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Mark Wells White, Jr.

43rd Governor of Texas
In office
January 18, 1983 – January 20, 1987
Preceded by Bill Clements
Succeeded by Bill Clements

46th Attorney General of Texas
In office
January 19, 1979 – January 18, 1983
Governor Bill Clements
Preceded by John Luke Hill
Succeeded by James Albon "Jim" Mattox

74th Secretary of State of Texas
In office
January 19, 1973 – October 27, 1977
Governor Dolph Briscoe
Preceded by V. Larry Teaver, Jr.
Succeeded by George Strake, Jr.

Born March 17, 1940
Henderson, Texas
Died August 5, 2017 (aged 77)
Houston, Texas
Resting place Texas State Cemetery in Austin
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) Linda Gale Thompson White (married 1966-2017, his death)
Children (1) Mark Wells White, III
(2) Andrew White
(3) Elizabeth Marie White-Russell
Alma mater Baylor University

Baylor School of Law

Occupation Attorney
Religion Southern Baptist

Military Service
Service/branch United States Army
Battles/wars Vietnam War

Mark Wells White, Jr. (March 17, 1940 – August 5, 2017), was an American lawyer and Democratic politician who was the 43rd governor of his native Texas from 1983 to 1987. Earlier, he was the state attorney general from 1979 to 1983 and secretary of state for Texas from 1973 to 1977.

During a slump in the petroleum industry, White unseated Bill Clements of Dallas in the 1982 gubernatorial general election. Clements had been the state's first Republican governor in 105 years, but since 1995, no Democrat has served as governor of the state. Governor White sought to improve education, law enforcement, transportation, water resources, and he promoted industrial recruitment. He appointed the Dallas businessman and later third-party presidential contender Ross Perot to head an education commission that developed the controversial "no pass, no play" rule for athletes in Texas public schools. The change was in response to low Scholastic Aptitude Test scores at the time.

In the 1986 governor's race, however, Clements turned the tables on his rival White and reclaimed the office with 52.7 percent of the ballots cast. In 1990, White ran again but Clements retired. White and Jim Mattox, who had succeeded White as attorney general, lost the party's nomination that year to Ann Richards, the outgoing state treasurer, who went on to defeat the Republican businessman Clayton Wheat Williams, Jr. of Midland.

In 1983, White played himself in an episode of CBS's Dallas television series. Mark White Elementary School in Houston is named in his honor.

White's son, Andrew White, is a Democratic gubernatorial candidate in the runoff election scheduled for May 22, 2018. He polled 28.9 percent of the ballots cast in a nine-candidate field and faces the top vote-getter in the primary, Lupe Valdez, the liberal and openly lesbian former sheriff of Dallas County. The winner of the runoff then squares off on November 6 against Republican Governor Greg Abbott.