Mark White, the co-chair of the TCP Death Penalty Committee, passed away on August 5th. He served as Governor of Texas from 1983-1987, and as the state’s Attorney General from 1979-1983.
I’m so sad that former Texas governor Mark White has died. He was the co-chair of TCP’s Death Penalty Committee for many years. Known as a law and order governor – on whose watch 19 people were executed – he started, on his own, making comments to Texas newspapers about his concerns about the unfairness of the criminal justice system. And so, though I didn’t know him, I called him to ask him to consider joining the committee. After reading the report, he promptly called me back to say he would join on one condition – that he could co-chair it. He was telling me that he was committed to changing a system that he believed was filled with errors, racism, and unfairness and that he wanted to work hard to change it. And so he did. He was always there when we asked him to help, and gradually, as word got out about his efforts with TCP, he began to get requests from other organizations too. He always said yes to them too.
He was a wonderfully engaging man, sending my colleague Sarah Turberville and me funny news reports about life in Texas, taking us out for a meal when he was in Washington or we were in Texas, regaling us with stories about politics and life, which in his mind were usually one and the same.
He was hilarious and delightful to work with. He was committed and hard working, because he cared deeply about injustice. His work after a life in politics serves as a wonderful reminder that much good can come from “recovering politicians.” He truly was one-of-a-kind.
We will miss him a lot.