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Question of the day

Wednesday, Sep 4, 2019

* From one of the more unusual press releases I’ve received in a while…

In recognition of his decades of service to the people of Illinois and his extraordinary life, Shaw Media has published an editorial calling for a “Jesse White Day” in the state.

An editorial calling for statewide recognition for White, a Chicago native serving a record-setting sixth term of office as Secretary of State, appears in Shaw Media’s six daily newspapers and websites across Northern Illinois today, with the company’s weekly newspapers following suit later this week. The piece has also been shared with the Illinois Press Association’s more than 400 member publications.

“Voters have recognized White’s service and character time and again, handing him landslide victories in six statewide elections. Amazingly, he has received more than 60 percent of the vote in each of his five re-election bids,” the editorial states. “White, a Chicago Democrat, became the first African-American elected Secretary of State in 1998. Now in the first year of his sixth consecutive term, he has held the post longer than anyone in state history. He still works daily for the people of Illinois, leading a state agency that provides more direct public service than any other.

“He has a decades-long track record of serving with honor and competence. In fact, he has accomplished more in terms of public service than most people could hope to accomplish in five lifetimes.”

Sam Fisher, president and CEO of the Illinois Press Association, said his organization supported the call for statewide recognition for White.

“The Illinois Press Association is proud to support the effort by Shaw Media to call for a ‘Jesse White Day,’ ” Fisher said. “We have distributed the editorial call to our member newspapers, encouraging them to publish in an the effort to recognize an outstanding public servant for his years of dedicated service to the state of Illinois.”

I guess term limits wouldn’t be good in this case?

* From the editorial

Before he was a public servant, White was a student at Alabama State College in Montgomery in the 1950s, where he experienced racial discrimination in the Jim Crow South. While there, he attended a church where Martin Luther King Jr. was pastor, and participated in the Montgomery Bus Boycott organized by King and Rosa Parks.

White has said it was King who inspired him to enter public service and help people.

Rather than be turned off by racial injustice, White worked to make America better. He eventually spent 16 years in the Illinois General Assembly, followed by eight as the Cook County Recorder of Deeds before his record-breaking run as head of Illinois’ largest government agency.

There are few politicians with a biography as inspiring as Jesse White, who has taken Illinois from the nadir of Operation Safe Road to truly providing safe roads for citizens.

We are calling on the Illinois House, Senate and Gov. JB Prtizker to declare a statewide “Jesse White Day.” The Honorable Jesse White is truly an Illinois treasure, and the time is right to recognize his remarkable service to our state.

All Illinoisans, and particularly younger ones, should appreciate the value of White’s lifelong service and leadership. The recognition will not only spotlight an exemplary individual, it might inspire others to follow in his footsteps, as King’s leadership inspired White himself.

* The Question: Do you agree with Shaw Media and the Illinois Press Association that Illinois should declare a Jesse White Day? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please…


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 1:37 pm:

    ===White has said it was King who inspired him to enter public service and help people===

    I always thought it was George Dunne.

  2. - Fax Machine - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 1:39 pm:

    Are they just calling for a Joint Resolution or a new State Holiday?

  3. - Ron Burgundy - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 1:40 pm:

    Voted no. Nice man and a good public official, but he’s been honored enough by the citizens voting to re-elect him again and again. Also I find it a bit unsettling that the press would be leading this movement and sounding like his fan club rather than watchdogs.

  4. - LakeCo - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 1:44 pm:

    I took it to mean a recognition day, not a state holiday, and I voted sure, why not. There are a lot of days recognizing a lot of people, and Jesse White is certainly worthy.

  5. - Fax Machine - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 1:46 pm:

    If it’s just passing a resolution and having a ceremony then why not? In fact, I always think it’s better to do things like that while someone is still alive and can enjoy the honor rather than waiting until they pass (unfortunately, the City of Chicago a couple years ago restricted honorary street names to people who were already dead)

  6. - Michelle Flaherty - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 1:47 pm:

    Is White about to make some big decision regarding public notice requirements?

  7. - Ron Burgundy - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 1:47 pm:

    To add to my prior answer, if they want to do such a thing after he is out of office as a sort of lifetime achievement award, fine. Not while he is still in office and might run again, despite repeated prior denials.

  8. - WH Mess - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 1:47 pm:

    I voted yes on the content, but I am kinda gobsmacked that the press association (whose board members include but content editors like Fusco, not just business publishers) would compromise themselves to do so.

  9. - OneMan - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 1:47 pm:

    If April 1st is Cheap Trick day in the state every year it seems that one for Jesse White is in order.

  10. - Streator Curmudgeon - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 1:48 pm:

    I’m no fan of Shaw Media, but if Jesse White doesn’t deserve a day, who does?

    An honest, hardworking, citizen-oriented, scandal-free state office holder seems to be a rare thing in Illinois. (We often get the other kind.)

    Who are those 24 people who voted NO without giving their reason?

  11. - Donnie Elgin - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 1:48 pm:

    Give him the recognition - no other statewide politician comes close to enjoying the bipartisan support of the Secretary.

  12. - OneMan - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 1:48 pm:

    Not implying that it should be April 1st for Jesse White, just that if the state band gets a day every year it seems approprate that Mr. White should as well.

  13. - Veil of Ignorance - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 1:49 pm:

    No…when is Automatic Voter Registration going to be fully implemented? You know, like it was supposed to be last year.

  14. - Fax Machine - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 1:54 pm:

    No jokes about making him the state fossil?

  15. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 1:55 pm:

    Michelle, that was the first thing that came to my mind, too. lol

  16. - SSL - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 1:56 pm:

    I voted no. I have nothing against Jesse, but if we are going to honor current long serving office holders, I think we should start with those most responsible for making Illinois what it is today. So let’s all raise a glass and toast Mr. Madigan and Mr. Cullerton.

  17. - anon2 - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 1:59 pm:

    Secretary White inherited an office rife with corruption. Scandals at SoS have become rare under his leadership. Of course he’s not perfect, but he’s a huge improvement. By all means recognize him for his long career of public service.

  18. - Watching - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 2:00 pm:

    Jesse White is a fantastic public servant, but his office is far from scandal free. Candace Wanzo ring a bell? Or what about chief of staff hiring at least a half dozen of his immediate relatives in direct violation of nepotism policies?

    We don’t hold Secretary White accountable for his employees misdeeds but we are constantly calling upon Governors past and present to be accountable for their many employees and the actions/words of those employees.

  19. - TheInvisibleMan - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 2:03 pm:

    Shaw Media is one of the worst of the conglomerate newspapers there is.

    Every local paper they buy, turns into something you would expect to see at the supermarket checkout lane.

  20. - jackmac - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 2:11 pm:

    Jesse White deserves plaudits for a long career, running a clean office and his private good works — like the Jesse White Tumblers. But maybe wait to honor the man when he’s in his final days of office or officially retired.

  21. - A guy - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 2:28 pm:

    I’m a fan of Jesse’s. Met him numerous times and it’s always, always been pleasant.

    That said, I voted no. Just don’t think we should do these kinds of things for people who are still alive.

    Some other celebration, sure, but not this. If it’s their way of getting him to say this is “his last term”—been there, done that.

  22. - OutOfState - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 2:33 pm:

    Voted no - I agree with not naming streets after living people rule, and in that spirit, I think it’s inappropriate to recognize his service with a “Jesse White Day” until his service is over. While I don’t think he’ll cause us to regret it, I think that’s a good all around policy for these types of things. Besides, what’s left to present him with when he retires if we give him the day now?

  23. - Generic Drone - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 2:43 pm:

    Sure. Go ahead. Make it a state holiday. Our legislators need more time off.

  24. - lake county democrat - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 2:57 pm:

    Actually I do have something against White - he cut a radio spot for Joe Berrios targeted to minority voters -after- the disparate impact of his assessment “models” was having in those communities was exposed. That aside, I’m with those who don’t mind him getting such recognition after he leaves office, but not before.

  25. - Flynn's mom - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 3:03 pm:

    I voted no. Jesse has had his “day” for years. He’s made good money and put a lot of people in patronage jobs that, in my opinion, don’t always seem qualified.

  26. - Cheryl44 - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 3:04 pm:

    Sure, as long as it’s a one off and occurs after he retires.

  27. - levivotedforjudy - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 3:22 pm:

    Usually, something like that doesn’t happen until you are 6 feet under. So, I voted yes. But it should be when he leaves office.

  28. - A guy - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 3:25 pm:

    Who’s to know he’ll leave office even after he passes?

  29. - Downstate Illinois - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 3:25 pm:

    No. He redesigned our license plates so they’re harder to read and the new driver’s licenses look amateurish and printed off in somebody’s basement.

  30. - dabears - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 3:49 pm:

    Secy of State Office has long been first step for Burke & Madigan workers. No to any more accolades for Secretary White.

  31. - Annonin' - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 4:08 pm:

    Voted yes. Wish we had had this idea

  32. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 4:12 pm:

    ===Do you agree with Shaw Media and the Illinois Press Association that Illinois should declare a Jesse White Day?===

    Boy, all day, every day, twice on Sunday, I’d normally be a Yes…

    “State of Illinois is now taking orders for St. Louis Cardinals license plates”

    … I now must take pause.

    Secretary, you’re tops. I’m for celebrating you any time.


  33. - West Side the Best Side - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 5:04 pm:

    Voted Yes on the assumption it would either be a one time only thing - which is nice to do before someone dies - or a day like National Hot Dog Day - noted, but not otherwise commemorated.

  34. - FormerParatrooper - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 5:31 pm:

    Once he retires, give the man his due recognition. A nice plaque from the people of Illinois and a day of recognition will be due for him.

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