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|37th Illinois Secretary of State|
|Assumed office |
January 11, 1999
J. B. Pritzker
|Preceded by||George Ryan|
|Recorder of Deeds of Cook County|
January 3, 1993 – January 11, 1999
|Preceded by||Carol Moseley Braun|
|Succeeded by||Eugene Moore|
|Member of the Illinois House of Representatives|
from the 8th district
January 3, 1983 – January 3, 1993
|Preceded by||Constituency established|
|Succeeded by||Robert LeFlore|
|Member of the Illinois House of Representatives|
from the 13th district
January 3, 1975 – January 3, 1983
|Preceded by||James Houlihan|
|Succeeded by||Constituency abolished|
Jesse Clark White
June 23, 1934
Alton, Illinois, U.S.
|Education||Alabama State University (BA)|
|Branch/service||United States Army|
|Years of service||1957–1959|
|Unit||101st Airborne Division|
• Illinois National Guard
Jesse Clark White (born June 23, 1934) is an American educator, politician and former athlete from the State of Illinois. A member of the Democratic Party, he has served as the 37th Secretary of State of Illinois since 1999. He is the longest-serving and the first African American to hold this position. Previously, he served as the Cook County Recorder of Deeds from 1993 to 1999 and in the Illinois House of Representatives from 1975 to 1993.
On August 17, 2015, White announced that he would not seek reelection to a sixth term in 2018. Two years later in August, White reversed his decision and announced his candidacy for a sixth term. White has announced that he will not seek reelection in 2022 for what would be a seventh term that would begin just six months short of his 90th birthday.
In 1959, White founded the Jesse White Tumbling Team to serve as a positive alternative for children residing in the Chicago area. Since its inception, more than 10,700 young men and women have performed with the team.
White served as a paratrooper in the United States Army’s 101st Airborne Division and as a member of the Illinois National Guard. He played minor league professional baseball with the Chicago Cubs organization, which was followed by a 33-year career with the Chicago Public Schools system as a teacher and administrator.
As Secretary of State
First elected to Secretary of State of Illinois in 1998, White was re-elected in 2002 by winning all 102 counties and garnering more than 2.3 million votes, the largest vote total by any candidate for Illinois statewide office in a quarter of a century. In 2006, White was re-elected to a third term, having received 63 percent of the vote statewide. White was elected to a fourth term in 2010, the leading vote-getter in the entire state.
White has been an advocate on traffic safety issues. In 2007, he initiated teen driver safety legislation giving Illinois one of the top-ranked graduated driver licensing (GDL) programs in the country. In the first full year of the new law, teen fatal crashes in Illinois dropped by over 40 percent.
White continues to be an advocate for organ and tissue donation. He initiated legislation creating the First Person Consent Organ/Tissue Donor Registry, which makes a person's decision to donate legally binding. Since 2006, more than 5 million people have signed up for the registry.
In 1999, White inherited an office under a cloud of corruption from George H. Ryan. White immediately pledged to restore integrity and eliminate all forms of institutionalized corruption and wrongdoing. Some key efforts included: establishing a code of conduct for employees; setting strict fundraising policies that prohibit employee contributions; hiring Jim Burns, former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, as Inspector General and strengthened the Inspector General's office; and initiated legislation to make the position of Inspector General permanent with broad powers to root out corruption.
The Secretary of State's office administers library grants throughout the state. In 2010, White re-directed federal funds from the Illinois State Library so that local libraries throughout Illinois could maintain a revenue flow from the state despite the state's fiscal crisis.
Senate appointment of Roland Burris
In January 2009, White gained national attention for his decision to not certify Roland Burris's nomination to the United States Senate following corruption charges against former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. White steadfastly refused to co-sign a certificate of appointment for any appointee named by the governor, Blagojevich, who was arrested in part for trying to sell this very same senate seat. Burris then filed a lawsuit against White with the Illinois Supreme Court to compel him to certify the appointment as part of his routine administrative duties.
On January 9, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that White did not have to sign his name to any appointment made by Governor Rod Blagojevich. The Court further ruled that White had fulfilled his legal obligations regarding the appointment of Burris to the U.S. Senate by registering the appointment in accordance with state law. The document registered did not include White's signature or the State Seal. On January 12, the U.S. Senate officially seated Burris as Illinois’ junior senator.
|Democratic||Jesse White (Incumbent)||3,120,207||68.3|
|Democratic||Jesse White (Incumbent)||2,374,849||65.7|
|Democratic||Jesse White (Incumbent)||2,590,222||69.9|
|Democratic||Jesse White (Incumbent)||2,204,762||62.8|
|Green||Karen "Young" Peterson||115,458||3.2|
|Democratic||Jesse White (Incumbent)||2,390,181||67.9|
|Republican||Kristine O'Rourke Cohn||1,051,672||29.9|
|Democratic gain from Republican|
In 1999 White was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame as a Friend of the Community. In 2015, he received the Jane Addams Award for Distinction in Social Service from the Chicago History Museum.
- "Jesse White won't seek re-election in 2022". WAND-TV. Retrieved August 15, 2019.
-  Archived September 9, 2005, at the Wayback Machine
- "Jesse White : Jesse White News and Photos". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved September 4, 2010.
- "Search Vote Totals". Elections.state.il.us. Archived from the original on September 29, 2010. Retrieved September 4, 2010.
- Hudzik, Sam (November 8, 2010). "The fallout: 2010 elections, one week later". City Room Blog. WBEZ. Retrieved November 21, 2010.[permanent dead link]
- "State GDL Laws". Iihs.org. Retrieved September 4, 2010.
- "Illinois Graduated Driver Licensing System". Cyberdriveillinois.com. January 1, 2008. Archived from the original on September 20, 2010. Retrieved September 4, 2010.
- "Illinois Department of Transportation". Dot.state.il.us. Retrieved September 4, 2010.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 19, 2008. Retrieved June 23, 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Transplant Center | Organ Transplant Surgery St Louis Missouri Transplant Center - Transplant - Barnes-Jewish Hospital". Barnesjewish.org. Archived from the original on October 27, 2007. Retrieved October 11, 2011.
- "Donate Life Illinois – Information on Organ, Tissue and Eye Donation". Donatelifeillinois.org. Retrieved September 4, 2010.
- "Jesse White awards Public Library Per Capita and Equalization Aid Grants". QConline. February 5, 2010. Retrieved November 21, 2010.
- Hulse, Carl; Stout, David (January 7, 2009). "Burris, Blocked From Taking Seat, Gains New Support". The New York Times.
- "Ronald Burris v. Jesse White (Illinois Supreme Court)". Scribd.com. Retrieved September 4, 2010.
- "Senate lets Burris in". Chicago Breaking News. January 12, 2009. Retrieved September 4, 2010.
- "GENERAL ELECTION - 11/4/2014 SECRETARY OF STATE".
- "GENERAL ELECTION - 11/2/2010 SECRETARY OF STATE".
- "GENERAL ELECTION - 11/7/2006 SECRETARY OF STATE".
- "GENERAL ELECTION - 11/5/2002 SECRETARY OF STATE".
- "GENERAL ELECTION - 11/3/1998 SECRETARY OF STATE".
- "GENERAL PRIMARY - 3/17/1998 SECRETARY OF STATE".
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 17, 2015. Retrieved June 28, 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on June 24, 2016. Retrieved October 4, 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Illinois Secretary of State – official site
- Follow the Money – Jesse White: 2006 campaign cycle, 2008 "campaign" cycle contributions
- Project Vote Smart – Jesse White (IL) profile
- Jesse White Tumbling Team official site
| Secretary of State of Illinois