SAN ANTONIO -- You can call him Mayor , after November2, he d like to be called Governor ; but there was a time in Bill White s life when people called him Rusty .
The unusual sobriquet was given to him at a time in his life when the name just seemed to fit. You see, Bill White hasn t always had the hairline (or lack thereof) that he currently has.
Growing up in San Antonio, White was known for his red, hair. As a child in the neighborhoods that circle Winston Churchill High School, White was easily recognized by his crop of red hair, thus the nickname, Rusty .
White left the coppertop and San Antonio behind when he graduated from Churchill High School to attend Harvard on an American Legion scholarship. After graduating magna cum laude, White returned to Texas, specifically the University of Texas School of Law.
White practiced business law in and around Houston for years before being named deputy secretary of energy by President Bill Clinton, a position he held from 1993-1995.
But it is his time as the mayor of Houston that White is best known for.
In 2003, White succeeded former Mayor Lee Brown, who could not run due to term-limits. He ran against 8 candidates in the general election, eventually winning the post in a runoff against Orlando Sanchez.
Two years later, White ran for re-election, it would be the first of two lop-sided victories. In 2005, he won re-election with 91% of the vote; in 2007 he won again with 86%.
In his tenure as mayor of Houston, White made a name for himself fighting for better schools, lower property taxes, and less pollution; a fight he took part in firsthand through the creation of city parks, a light rail and events like Bike to Work Day.
While Houston hosed the NBA All Star Game, MLB All Star Game, World Series and Super Bowl XXXVIII during White s time as mayor, it is his leadership during three hurricanes that ultimately defined his time in the office.
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Louisiana sending an exodus of evacuees to Texas, many settling in Houston. Weeks after the Katrina, another storm, Hurricane Rita, set its sights on the Texas Gulf Coast. With Rita bearing down, White organized evacuation plans for the city and helped Houston brace for the onslaught.
Three years later Hurricane Ike began to churn in the Gulf of Mexico, heading towards Houston. The evacuation plans, originally drawn up by White in the aftermath of Rita were put into place. The Hurricane Ike evacuation proved to be the largest evacuation in the state s history.
Like Mayor Brown before him, term-limits brought an end to White s time in office.
Setting his sights on a higher office, White announced he would be running for the U.S. Senate, eying the seat held by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.
However, when it became clear that Senator Hutchison was not going to step down from her post to run for governor, White switched from the Senate race, to the governor s race.