Jesse White is the Illinois Secretary of State. He was elected to the post on November 3, 1998 by a margin of over 450,000 votes. He was sworn into office on January 11, 1999. He has served as the 37th Secretary of State since 1999. He is the longest serving and first African-American to hold this position.
Prior to his election as IL Secretary of State, White was the Recorder of Deeds of Cook County, the nation’s second largest Recorder of Deeds office. He was elected to the post in 1992 and re-elected in 1996.
Prior to his election as Recorder, Jesse White served 16 years in the Illinois General Assembly representing the most culturally, economically and racially diverse district in Illinois. As a state legislator, he built a solid record for fighting crime, improving education and helping senior citizens. White was chairman of the Illinois House Committee on Human Services. He was an active member of the education committee and the select committees on children and aging. His community service office remains open today as a constant source of information and help for the neighborhood in which he has lived and worked all his life.
Since March 1996, Jesse White has served as Chicago’s 27th Ward Democratic Committeeman.
Born in Alton, Illinois in 1934, Jesse White now lives on Chicago’s near-north side. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in 1957 from Alabama State College (now Alabama State University), where he was a two-sport star earning all-conference honors in baseball and basketball. In May 1995, White was inducted into the Southwestern Athletic Conference Hall of Fame. He was an all-city baseball and basketball star at Chicago’s Waller High School (now Lincoln Park Academy) and was inducted into the Chicago Public League Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in June 1995.
Jesse White served our country as a paratrooper in the United States Army’s 101st Airborne Division, Army Reserves and a member of the Illinois National Guard. He played professional baseball with the Chicago Cubs organization, which was followed by a 33-year career with the Chicago public school system as a teacher and administrator.
He was a gymnast as a kid, taught gymnastics in college and worked as a gymnastics coach and teacher for the Chicago Park District YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago.