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White named ‘Mr. East Texas’

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Jas White

By Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – Former State Rep. James White has another honor to add to his already impressive mantle or brag wall – that of Mr. East Texas.

Last week, the Dogwood Festival board of directors made its announcement that White has been bestowed the title for the 2024 festival year. White, a Hillister resident, said he is extremely honored to be this year’s Mr. East Texas, and wishes everyone a joyful Dogwood celebration.

The award, according to the Dogwood Festival directors, is given at the operating board of directors’ discretion to an East Texan resident “who best exemplifies the spirit and quality of leadership which advances, shapes and gives direction to the growth and progress of East Texas.”

The award was first established in 1967, and White joins an impressive list of honorees, which includes philanthropists such as Walter Umphrey and Joe Penland; medical pioneers such as Dr. Red Duke and men and women of letters such as Dr. F.E. “Ab” Abernethy.

White, who is a proud fifth-generation Texas native, was born in Houston and attended public school in Houston ISD.

He graduated with honors from Prairie View A&M in 1986. He earned a B.A. in political science, and later completed a doctorate in poli sci at the University of Houston.

In 1986, White was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army Infantry. He served with the Berlin Brigade from 1987-90 during the fall of the Soviet Union.

After his military career, White began a career in public education, and served in districts in the Houston area, as well as Fort Bend, Livingston and at Woodville ISD.

As a classroom teacher, White taught history, geography, government and economics, and also taught classes concurrently, at the college and high school level. He also worked as a coach, and coached high school football, basketball and soccer.

White began his career in politics in 2010, when he was elected to serve his first term in the state House of Representatives.

White served House District 19, which was comprised of Tyler, Angelina, Trinity, San Jacinto, Polk, Jasper, Newton and Hardin counties. Even before being elected to serve in the state legislature, White was involved in politics as a chair of the Harris County GOP, for which he served as both precinct chair (from 1993-2005) and Senatorial District Chair from 2000-05.

During his 11-year run in the House, White served as chair of the Corrections Committee for two legislative sessions and served on the House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety.

White addressed challenges in the state’s juvenile justice and child support systems, and also passed key legislation that helped military veterans and strengthened the logging industry in the region.

White is currently serving as the executive director of the Texas Funeral Service Commission. He resigned from the House in 2022 to take the job, following an unsuccessful bid for the state’s office of Agriculture Commissioner.

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Cathy · 16 days ago
    CONGRATULATIONS IN ALL YOUR Wonderful CONTRIBUTIONS! YOU; In my Opinion ARE NEEDED BACK IN POLITICS. THE USA NEEDS GOOD MEN LIKE YOU.