Members of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus, the main African-American legislative body in the Texas House of Representatives, today endorsed Bill White as Texas’ next U.S. Senator, praising his record of fighting for families. TLBC members emphasized White’s problem-solving approach to better educational opportunities, safe neighborhoods, energy efficiency and affordable housing.

Endorsing members include Rep Alma Allen (Houston), Rep Garnet Coleman (Houston), Rep Dawnna Dukes (Austin), Rep Harold Dutton (Houston), Rep Helen Giddings (Dallas), Rep Barbara Mallory Caraway (Dallas), Rep Ruth McClendon (San Antonio), Rep Sylvester Turner (Houston) and Rep Marc Veasey (Fort Worth).

TLBC Chairman Sylvester Turner said the individual members’ endorsement relied on White’s strong record as mayor of the fourth largest city in the United States. “We need someone who understands big cities in the Senate. As a legislator for 20 years in the Texas House, I know what it takes to be effective in the lawmaking process. Mayor White will fight in the U.S. Senate, as he has for many years as Mayor, to enhance the quality of life for all Texans. I have no doubt he is the best candidate for the position,” he said.

“I am very appreciative of Mayor White’s leadership and commitment on a number of issues, especially his commitment to ensuring Houstonians receive affordable electric rates,” Turner said.

White, who has worked with Turner for more than two decades, accepted the endorsement from nine members of the TLBC. White said, “I’m honored by the endorsement from my good friend Sylvester and members of one of the most influential groups in the Texas Legislature. I want to be a voice for all Texans in Washington. My record in Houston is bringing people together and getting things done, and as your next Senator, I’ll continue to fight for the issues that matter most to Texas families.”

State Representative Ruth McClendon of San Antonio noted White’s success in bringing kids back to school in Houston. White and his wife, Andrea, started Expectation Graduation in 2004 and approximately 6,700 students have returned to school as a result. The initiative, which has been replicated in communities across Texas, includes a “Reach Out to Dropouts” program that mobilizes volunteers to knock on doors of homes of students who have not returned to school. White, who attended college on an American Legion scholarship, also believes that higher education must be more accessible and affordable.

McClendon said, “A good public education is something every child in Texas deserves. As Mayor of Houston Bill White has shown time and time again his commitment to this important issue. I know that he will do the same as our United States senator.”

State Representative Helen Giddings of Dallas recognized White’s leadership during crisis.

Giddings said, “Bill White does what’s right for people, even when nobody else will, and even when no one is watching. He showed real character during Hurricane Katrina, mobilizing 100,000 volunteers to help evacuees get back on their feet. And after Hurricanes Rita and Ike, he worked behind the scenes for one of the most successful recovery efforts our state has ever seen. Texans need to elect Bill White to make our state a better place for our children and grandchildren.”

The son of San Antonio school teachers, White helped build a law firm and managed a successful business before being elected Houston’s mayor in 2003. Since then, he’s been re-elected twice with 86% and 91% of the vote. During White’s administration, Houston led the nation’s cities in job growth, adding more jobs than sixteen states combined. At the same time, he cut property taxes five years in a row and helped seniors with tax relief. White also started a special initiative that gives returning veterans the welcome they deserve with coordinated social services, reductions in red tape, and employment opportunities. After Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Ike, Bill White mobilized an effective disaster response including first responders, businesses and churches. For the compassionate, hands-on leadership after Katrina, White received the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award in 2007. Previously, he served as Deputy Secretary of Energy of the United States.

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