R.I.P. Mark White, Former Texas Governor

Last surviving Democratic governor dead at 77

Governor Mark White addressing a joint session of the 70th Texas Legislature on January 14, 1987
Governor Mark White addressing a joint session of the 70th Texas Legislature on January 14, 1987 (courtesy of Texas State Library & Archives Commissio)

Mark White, the last surviving Democratic governor of Texas, died on Aug. 5 at the age of 77. A lawyer by training and profession, White served as an assistant attorney general before being appointed Texas secretary of state in 1973 by Gov. Dolph Briscoe. Five years later, he was elected as Texas' attorney general, and then in 1982 defeated Republican incumbent Bill Clements for the governorship. During his single term in office, White pushed to diversify Texas away from its economic dependence on oil, sowing the seeds for the state's tech revolution, and was an aggressive advocate for better public schools and improved teacher pay.

Praising the former governor, Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa said White "had the political courage to invest in our children and teachers. He did right by Texans and our great state." Gov. Greg Abbott wrote that "Mark's impact on Texas will not soon be forgotten, and his legacy will live on through all that he achieved as governor."

Following a funeral service Aug. 9 in his native Houston, White's body will lay in state in the Capitol Rotunda in Austin from noon-3pm today, Thursday, Aug. 10, before being interred during a private funeral at the Texas State Cemetery.

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