RIP: Former Texas Governor Mark White dead at 77

Former Texas Governor Mark White died Saturday in Houston aged 77. The former Democrat governor who upset our first modern Republican governor Bill Clements’ re-election bid and then lost to Clements four years later, will lay in state this Thursday in the Capitol Rotunda.

“As the 43rd governor of Texas, Mark White ushered in education reforms that still impact schools, including limits on elementary class size, “no pass, no play” policy for high school athletes, and the first-ever statewide testing standards,” the Houston Chronicle reminded.

“The education reforms championed by White, who served as governor from 1983-1987, were not universally lauded. The “no pass, no play” rule, which required students to maintain passing grades to play sports, was politically unpopular in a state where high school football is revered.

“Teacher unions bristled against a proposed competency test for teachers.

“White also called for a $4 billion tax increase to pay for teacher raises and class size limits. The tax hike was partly blamed for scuttling his bid for re-election. He lost to Republican Bill Clements, the man he had defeated four years earlier,” the Chronicle reported.

White was as Baptist and a graduate of Baylor and Baylor Law School. He served as Texas Secretary of State under Governor Dolph Briscoe and beat James A. Baker III in a 1978 race for the Attorney General.

White served as Texas Governor from 1983 through 1987 and will be buried in the Texas State Cemetery in East Austin. Texas and U.S. flags have been ordered to fly at half-staff until sunset on Thursday by Governor Abbott.

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