OC honors White’s post-Ike efforts
A year after Hurricane Ike, Houston Mayor Bill White is remembered as the man who made the trailers happen. He put his D.C. friends to good use – then quietly slipped out the back door.
White plays that down somewhat, but will accept an appreciation plaque from Bridge City Mayor Kirk Roccaforte at 1 p.m. Friday under the pavilion in Bridge City Community Park. At 2, he is scheduled to tour the Orange County Courthouse.
The Democrat is expected to make remarks about his bid for Kay Bailey Hutchison’s U.S. Senate seat following some admitted campaign stops in Jefferson County. Other contenders for Hutchison’s job include former Texas Comptroller John Sharp.
“In Texas, we treat our neighbors as we would like to be treated,” White said Tuesday by phone from Houston. “I admire the people and the spirit of Bridge City and it has been a pleasure working with them.”
County Judge Carl Thibodeaux said White’s efforts helped get the Orange area “out of dead-center and rolling again.”
Thibodeaux added, “He was instrumental in getting those trailers. Then he called us on a daily basis to see how Houston could help. He showed a lot of concern.”
As Roccaforte recalled Tuesday, “He offered us his help. He was able to do some research that I wasn’t able to do. He may or may not have made a difference but it darn sure didn’t hurt. He seemed to speed up the delivery of the emergency housing.”
Calling the people of Bridge City “strong,” White said Tuesday that post-Ike Houston included thousands of damaged apartment buildings, “a lot of trees sticking out through bedrooms” and widespread, long-term power outages.
“Outside of Houston there were two areas – Anahuac and Bridge City – that came to my attention and were hurting to get help,” he said. “There were so many areas that needed housing, and a whole one-third of that was just in Bridge City.”
Hutchison is expected to resign her seat to challenge Gov. Rick Perry, resulting in a special election without a primary. It will be similar to when, in 1993, Sen. Lloyd Bentsen resigned to serve as Bill Clinton’s treasury secretary.
White doesn’t “believe in sound bites, just solutions,” he said. “I may not be the ‘glamour candidate’ … but I do know how to get things done and that’s what the country needs right now.”
White also has stops Friday for a Jefferson County Courthouse tour (10 a.m.) followed by an 11:30 Democratic luncheon in Beaumont at the Rockin’ A Café.
A native of San Antonio, White graduated law school at the University of Texas and has an economics degree from Harvard. He and wife Andrea – an author of books for young readers who has worked to improve public schools – have three children and are active in the Methodist Church.
Re-elected mayor twice, White was recently praised in a Houston Chronicle editorial for his management skills and “hit the brakes approach to spending.”