Candidate bio: Bill White


by Bill White for Texas (

Posted on February 22, 2010 at 10:45 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 1 at 11:56 AM

The following bio was posted on candidate Bill White's campaign Web site:

Mayor Bill White's leadership has brought Houston together, as shown by his overwhelming re-election margins of 91% and 86%. Mayor White's business experience can help Washington turn our economy around. During his Administration, the Houston area led the nation's cities in job growth. In fact, during his first five years as Mayor, the Houston area added more jobs than sixteen states combined.

Mayor White aggressively attacked Houston's most difficult challenges, by reforming municipal pensions, improving neighborhood drainage, attacking crime hot spots, and reducing traffic delays caused by wrecks and stalled vehicles. During Mayor White's Administration, Houston has provided more services -- including more parks, libraries, and health clinics -- while every year cutting the property tax rate and raising exemptions for seniors and disabled citizens.

Americans witnessed Mayor White's hands-on management style when he helped lead Houston's response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 and Hurricane Ike in 2008.

Mayor White "mobilized more than 100,000 Houstonians in the public, private business and faith-based communities to help evacuees rebuild their lives with independence and dignity," said the John F. Kennedy Foundation in presenting him the Profiles in Courage Award after Katrina, "in recognition of his political courage in leading a compassionate and effective government response to the disaster."

Mayor White has the experience to deal with the nation's housing crisis. His administration has revitalized neighborhoods with hundreds of new housing starts on previously abandoned properties and a program that has made energy efficiency improvements, which cut utility bills in thousands of homes.

"Mayor White made public safety one of his highest priorities, which is evident by Houston's decreasing crime rate," said an FBI Special Agent-in-Charge when presenting the mayor with the FBI Director's Community Leadership Award. "Thanks to Mayor White's leadership and dedication, he has made our job easier." The overall crime rate per 100,000 population is down sharply today compared with the year before Mayor White too office.

Even while Houston has grown, Mayor White made energy efficiency improvements that cut the City's power usage, and 35% of the City's power now comes from renewable sources. In addition, Mayor White has designed and implemented aggressive programs to enforce pollution laws, reduce the flooding impact of new developments, and encourage more flexible working hours.

"In time of both crisis and calm," said Governing Magazine in naming Mayor White one of its 2007 Public Officials of the Year, "White, a former business executive ... is a cool pragmatist who wants results rather than excuses ...."

The magazine went on to describe how under Mayor White's leadership, Houston showed that government, marshaling the resources of volunteers, businesses, nonprofits and faith-based groups, could respond to disaster decisively and compassionately. "The mayor clearly imparted on us that the focus was to get the job done," recalls Dr. David Persse, Houston's emergency medical services director, "and not to let bureaucratic roadblocks get in the way."

Before serving as mayor, White built one of the region's most successful businesses. Previously, he served as deputy secretary of energy of the United States, where he helped diversify national energy supplies and saved taxpayers billions of dollars with management reforms. Earlier in his career, he helped build and manage one of the nation's most successful law firms. As a legislative assistant in Congress in the 1970's, he worked on landmark energy legislation. White attended Harvard University on an American Legion scholarship and law school at the University of Texas.

Bill White, who grew up in San Antonio, is the son of two schoolteachers. For decades, he and his wife, Andrea, have helped lead numerous charitable and civic organizations. Together they have started programs to reduce dropout rates known as Expectation Graduation. An annual "Reach Out to Dropouts" walk has engaged thousands of volunteers throughout Texas who go to homes of dropouts and bring them back to school. Andrea is an author of books for young readers and helped start a foundation to improve public schools. The Whites are parents of three students and attend St. Luke's United Methodist Church in Houston.

Click here for more information on Bill White from his campaign Web site.