Mark White, the small town lawyer who brought his populist passion to the Texas governor's mansion for one term in the 1980s died today at the age of 77, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
White led a Democratic ticket to a solid victory over Republican Bill Clements in 1982.. Winning election with White that year was a Who's Who of late 20th Century Texas Democrats, including future Gov. Ann Richards in the now abolished office of State Treasurer, legendary Lt. Gov. Bill Hobby, Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, and Attorney General Jim Mattox.. Never since have Democrats held anywhere near the political power in Texas that they held during the White Administration.
White's main focus was education, introducing initiatives like standardized exit testing and the state's first 'no pass no play' laws.
"Mark's impact on Texas will not soon be forgotten, and his legacy will live on through all he achieved as Governor," Gov. Greg Abbott said.
White was defeated for re-election by Clements in 1986.
White's death leaves only George W. Bush and Rick Perry as living former governors of Texas.