Former Governor Honored

Amid echoes of the past, former Texas governor honored for courageous decisions

Amid echoes of the past, former Texas governor honored for courage

109 NAMES HCDLA Mark White benefit October 2014
Seth Russell, from left, Elizabeth White Russell, Mark White III and Mark White and Linda Gale White. Photo by Dalton DeHart
Walter Cronkite, Mark White and Willie Nelson
Classic photos, like this one of White, second from right, with Willie Nelson, right, and Walter Cronkite, left, flashed on the screen during the reception. Courtesy photo
154 Chris Bell and Jaclanel McFarland HCDLA Mark White benefit October 2014
Chris Bell and Jaclanel McFarland. Photo by Dalton DeHart
Mark White, Prince Charles, John Connelly
White, far right, with Prince Charles, second from right, and John Connelly, center, in undated photo. Courtesy photo
101 Mark White, left, and Sam Houston HCDLA Mark White benefit October 2014
Mark White, left, and Sam Houston. Photo by Dalton DeHart
Mark White, Ann RIchards and Democratic women
Mark White, center, with prominent Democratic women, including Ann Richards and Liz Carpenter in undated photo. Courtesy photo
157 Tasso Triantaphyllis and left, and Tim Riley HCDLA Mark White benefit October 2014
Tasso Triantaphyllis and left, and Tim Riley. Photo by Dalton DeHart
144 Donna Roth and Olin Boudreaux HCDLA Mark White benefit October 2014
Donna Roth and Olin Boudreaux. Photo by Dalton DeHart
121 NAME, from left, Mark White and John Raley HCDLA Mark White benefit October 2014
John Odam, from left, Mark White and John Raley. Photo by Dalton DeHart
142 Harold Landreneau, left, and Jim Peacock HCDLA Mark White benefit October 2014
Harold Landreneau, left, and Jim Peacock. Photo by Dalton DeHart
109 NAMES HCDLA Mark White benefit October 2014
Walter Cronkite, Mark White and Willie Nelson
154 Chris Bell and Jaclanel McFarland HCDLA Mark White benefit October 2014
Mark White, Prince Charles, John Connelly
101 Mark White, left, and Sam Houston HCDLA Mark White benefit October 2014
Mark White, Ann RIchards and Democratic women
157 Tasso Triantaphyllis and left, and Tim Riley HCDLA Mark White benefit October 2014
144 Donna Roth and Olin Boudreaux HCDLA Mark White benefit October 2014
121 NAME, from left, Mark White and John Raley HCDLA Mark White benefit October 2014
142 Harold Landreneau, left, and Jim Peacock HCDLA Mark White benefit October 2014

More than 150 guests turned out to salute former Gov. Mark White at Hughes Hangar as he received the Clarence Darrow Award from the Harris County Democratic Lawyers Association. White, who served as Texas governor from 1983-1987, Texas Attorney General (1979-1983) and Secretary of State (1973-77), was honored for devoting his career to preserving fundamental fairness in the rule of law for everyone, no matter how unpopular or difficult in the tradition of Darrow.

Speakers noted that White changed Texas' education system by instituting "No Pass, No Play" requirements and raised teacher's salaries significantly. He also appointed the first Hispanics to the Texas Supreme Court and other Texas courts and the first African American to serve as Texas Secretary of State. 

As his wife, Linda Gale White, son Mark White III, daughter Elizabeth White Russell and husband Seth Russell looked on, White spoke about the importance of doing the right thing and gave a nod to attorney John Raleyalong with the Innocence Project, who obtained the release of Michael Morton from prison following a 1987 wrongful conviction in Williamson County. 

White, 74, has become a strong advocate for criminal justice and immigration reform. Earlier this year, he wrote an article titled "America's Capital Punishment Crisis" in Politico magazine, urging improvements in the death penalty system.

Music from Willie Nelson, one of White's favorite singers, played throughout the evening as photos of White in earlier years with such notables as Prince Charles, Walter Cronkite, Ann Richards and Nelson flashed on nearby screens.

Among those in the throng were HCDLA president Tim Riley, Harris County Democratic Party chair Lane Lewis, John Odam, Jim Peacock, Harold Landreneau, George Barnstone, Barbara Radnofsky, Chris Bell, Judy and Jim Daughterty, Steven Duble and HCDLA board members Lee Arellano, Sam Houston, Bruce Johnson, Donna Roth, Dion Ramos, Tasso Triantaphyllis and Steve Wisch.