As the internship comes to a start, I’d like to introduce to you who Secretary White is so that this whole blog isn’t foreign to you.
Jesse White might be the most well known person in Illinois. His name is everywhere – from the face of your driver’s license to the top of a DMV. Every individual who drives a car in the state of Illinois has heard his name. But who is he?
Let’s start with a few of his accomplishments. First, he’s the first African American to hold the office of Secretary of State in Illinois, and to make things more impressive, he’s been winning consecutively for the past two decades. He’s also made Illinois’ Secretary of State office offer more services than any other state, as well as the leading and most influential SoS office in all of America.
What do him and his office do? According to Secretary White’s website, his commission “issues state ID cards, vehicle license plates and titles; registers corporations; enforces the Illinois Securities Act; administers the Organ/Tissue Donor Program; licenses drivers; and maintains driver records.”
An avid supporter of the democratic party, he’s also held office in the House of Representatives (1975-1993) and as Cook County Recorder of Deeds – someone who records property rights on real estate. (1993-1999) Today he holds the office of Secretary of State (1999-) and owns the Jesse White Tumblers.
Before becoming the Secretary, Jesse Clark White lived a courageous and adventurous life. Unbeknownst to many, Jesse White was an established athlete. In high school, he attended Lincoln Park (LPHS), where he was an all-city basketball and baseball player. He attended college at Alabama State University, where he was admitted into the Alabama State University Sports Hall of Fame. After college, he briefly played for the Chicago Cubs Minor League. Mr. White later started to coach in the Chicago Public School system, where he even made it to the Chicago Public League Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
On top of being a prodigious athlete and coach, Jesse White also fought in Vietnam. He served in United States Army, located in both the 101st Airborne Division and 75th Ranger Regiment. (By the way, the 101st Airborne might be the most legendary units of all-time, most well-known for its role in World War II on D-Day in Normandy France, dropping bombs on a beach in Normandy, killing over 200,000 Nazis).
On a more personal note, my first experience meeting Secretary White was enjoyable. At 84 years old, the man still has a great sense of humor and is very active. One thing I’ve noticed about him is that he has the best memory of any person I know (he truly could pick up a conversion from years prior). Mr. White also has an extremely personable character and not as bitter as one would expect from 20 years working in political environment. The most important trait from Secretary White that separates him from other politicians, however, is his passion for principled politics, organ donation, and honest belief in the betterment of individuals. I can confidently say that Mr. White has the best intentions for the state of Illinois in mind and that we, the citizens, are lucky to have him.
As my dad once said, “if even a quarter of politicians in the United States were like Secretary White, the country as a whole would be in a much better state.”