State Representative James White is a native Texan born in Houston, TX. He attended Houston ISD public schools before graduating with honors from Prairie View A&M University in 1986 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science. In addition, he completed his doctorate in political science at the University of Houston.
The United States Congress commissioned Rep. White as an officer of Infantry in the U.S. Army. His service included an assignment with the Berlin Brigade from 1987-90 during the demise of the Soviet Union.
After leaving the Army with an Honorable Discharge in 1992, Rep. White began a career as a public school educator in the Houston area. He continued his teaching career in Fort Bend, Livingston, and Woodville independent school districts. He taught United States history, Texas history, and geography at the secondary level. Rep. White also taught U.S. Government and Economics at the collegiate and high school level. Rep. White coached high school football, basketball, and soccer and officiated youth sports.
Rep. White was first elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 2010. Throughout his tenure in the Legislature, Rep. White has been a strong advocate for the residents of District 19 and is committed to ensuring the people of Hardin, Jasper, Newton, Polk, and Tyler counties are well represented in the State Legislature. He believes in the fundamental values of strong families, constitutional government, and economic prosperity. He has been recognized for practicing these core values through various awards including: Empower Texans “Taxpayer Champion”; Texas Association of Business “Champions for Free Enterprise”; Texas Eagle Forum “Most Conservative Rating”; American Conservative Union “Award for Conservative Excellence”; Conservative Roundtable of Texas “Lone Star Conservative Leader”; National Federation of Independent Business in Texas “100% Rating”; “Perfect Pro-Life Voting Record” – Texas Right to Life. The Texas Justice of the Peace and Constable Association recognized Rep. White as their 2015 Legislator of the Year. Additionally, Texas Appleseed honored Rep. White in 2015 for authoring landmark legislation that decriminalized truancy for juveniles in Texas.
Currently, Rep. White serves as Vice Chair of the House Committee on Corrections and sits on the Juvenile Justice and Family Issues, Emerging Issues in Texas Law Enforcement, Mental Health, and Transportation Planning committees. He has previously served on the County Affairs, Agriculture and Livestock, and Human Trafficking committees.
In 2011, he passed House Bill (HB) 1503 allowing for the appointment of qualified peace officers to a polling station. Then in 2013, Rep. White passed HB 1129 creating a pilot program that allowed active duty military voters abroad the ability to cast their ballots in an efficient manner. The program was expanded statewide in 2015. This past session, his legislative office worked on legislation reforming our correctional institutions. He sponsored Senate Bill (SB) 183 which imposed a criminal penalty on those who were charged of improper sexual conduct with juveniles in custody. Through SB 1024, Rep. White authorized the Windham School District to provide credit leading to a high school diploma or certificate to TDCJ offender-students who complete curriculum requirements. In addition, Rep. White joint-sponsored body camera legislation that aids in reducing the number of false claims made against law enforcement officers (SB 158) and enhancing transparency during investigatory stops.
Rep. White also passed legislation affecting Texas youth in 2015. SB 409 limited access to and protected the confidential records of youth in the juvenile justice information system. Furthermore, HB 2398 enhanced student school attendance and academic achievement. The legislation decriminalized truancy offenses but maintained the criminal offense for adults that contribute to truancy.
In his personal life, Rep. White maintains a small cattle ranch in Tyler County, a county he is proud to call home, and he worships at Hillister Baptist Church in Hillister, TX. He is a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, and the Texas Farm Bureau.