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Andrea White, wife of Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Bill White, was in Weatherford Sunday, Sept. 12 for an ice cream social and get-together.
“I’m here because I love my husband. He’s a good man,” White told a crowd of well-wishers. She said she has been married to him for 25 years – in fact, their 25th wedding anniversary is the date of the first big debate scheduled in Austin on Oct. 19.
“It’s 50 days until the election, and I’m only going to be home for 15 of them. For somebody who likes to be home in her own bed, I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t feel so strongly about it,” White said.
She described her husband’s tenure as mayor of Houston, saying she had a good perspective to see what he had accomplished.
“I got to sit front row center and see what a competent businessman did in Houston. For all those people who say government doesn’t matter, it does. It affected my life from the get-go,” she said. She said he had been in office one week when she was driving home along a familiar route, the heavily-traveled Westheimer Boulevard: “and for the first time in my life (I have lived in Houston 50 years) I saw the lights go green - he had synchronized the lights.”
White said the day before she had been in Houston for the seventh annual “Reach Out to Dropouts” program Bill White started the first year he was mayor.
“The mayor has no jurisdiction over education, but he wanted to do something about our dropout rate. We had over 10,000 community volunteers to go around knocking on the doors of kids who had dropped out of school. People say ‘what do you say to get these kids to go back to school?’ It’s not really words – it’s that you’re acting like a high school degree is really important, and you’re an adult standing there on their doorstep on a Saturday morning. And they almost always decide to go back, and some of them don’t make it through again, but a lot of them do. I talked to some who had gone back, and it gives you the chills to know you were part of something that changed somebody’s life. We’ve gotten over 8,000 kids back in the Houston area alone, and that walk has spread to 20 other cities - they do it in Dallas - and three other states now. And this is something he did when he had no authority over education at all. 50 percent of the governor’s budget goes to education, so you can imagine what he could do if he had the money behind him.”
White said her husband would work every day “to try to get more kids to graduate from high school, and get our work force trained like we will need in the future.”
But she said her favorite accomplishment of her husband as mayor was the ability to achieve consensus on the city council.
“There were 13,000 votes on city council, equally divided among Republicans and Democrats on the council, and not one of them broke down along party lines. Every time I turned on our TV, our city council was getting along.”
The audience applauded the statement, and during questions and answers, White was complimented on the positive tone of her husband’s campaign.