Secretary of State Jesse White has started making plans to retire from politics for good.
Secretary of State Jesse White has started making plans to retire from politics for good. “I plan to seek one more term as secretary of state and then retire once that term ends in 2014,” White told the Defender. “Once I retire, I will have more time to spend with my family and the tumbling team.” Searching for an alternative for inner-city youth White, a former elementary school physical education teacher, founded the Jesse White Tumbling Team in 1959. It was his way to keep at-risk kids away from gangs, drugs, alcohol and smoking. Since its inception, over 10,000 young men and women have performed with the team. Should White, 74, win and complete a fourth term as secretary of state, he would become the longest serving official in that post. He was first elected in 1998 and is the 37th person elected to the office. Two of his predecessors, Jim Edgar and George Ryan, went on to become governor, but White said he will not be following in their footsteps. “I am not interested in running for governor or any other office and look forward to retirement after 33 years as a public servant,” White said. Aside from motor vehicle services, such as overseeing driver’s license and state ID issuance, White’s office also registers corporations, enforces the Illinois Securities Act, administers the Organ Donor Program and certifies political appointments made by the governor. White is also the state librarian. White served in the U.S. Army and as a member of the Illinois National Guard. As a former All-American high school athlete, he once played professional baseball with the Chicago Cubs. Staying true to his love for children, White followed his brief baseball career by working as a physical education teacher and administer for Chicago Public Schools for 33 years. Born in downstate Alton, he now lives on the North Side of the city. He earned a B.A. from Alabama State College (now Alabama State University) in 1957. He was an all-city baseball and basketball player at the former Waller high school (now Lincoln Park high school) on the North Side and was inducted into the Chicago Public League Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1995. Four years later, he would be inducted into the Alabama State University Sports Hall of Fame. ______ Copyright 2009 Chicago Defender. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.