* 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…