Representative White provides nuanced analysis of Texas’ COVID-19 response

State Representative James White, District 19, Republican of Hillister.

The Golden Hammer Staff Reports

Hillister, October 28 – State Representative James White, known for his outspoken defense of the Constitution, explained his nuanced approach to the Chinese Coronavirus during an exclusive interview with The Golden Hammer on Monday. In a press release, White said “We do not need to be the Chinese Communist Party to defeat this virus,” in an obvious reference to government’s extensive overreach to the crisis in the form of local and state government mandates and scare tactics.

“I understand the situation President Trump and the Governor, Greg Abbott, were in back in March, as they looked at our brothers and sisters from other parts of the world like those in Spain and in Italy,” White told this newspaper during the interview. “If you read Bob Woodward’s rage about the Trump administration, because of the stonewalling and lack of transparency from China, we didn’t know much back then about the truth about this virus. We understand a lot more now that we’ve lived through it.”

Unlike many Republicans, Representative White is very complimentary of Governor Greg Abbott’s response to COVID-19. “The Governor has done a stellar performance in how he’s educated us, and how overnight he and his team built up stocks of PPE to take us through the winter,” White said. “He’s given the hospitals time to take in surges. That’s paying off where we have concerns out west, like in El Paso. That’s been done in a stellar way. That will go down in schools and colleges that study emergency operations as an exemplar on what to do in a situation like this one.”

At the same time, however, White has been very sensitive to constitutional rights and parental rights during the government response to the Chinese Coronavirus. “We still have a Constitution and we still have and value parental rights,” the State Representative, representing Polk, Hardin, Orange, and Jasper counties, said.

House District 19. Source: Texas Legislative Council.

“Regardless of the circumstances, we must respect freedom of religion and the exercise thereof,” White noted. “If an elderly person in a nursing home requests to see his or her pastor, the Constitution, not a government mandate, should control, even if the pastors should probably come in with a hazmat suit and PPE for protection of the elderly person and the Pastor.”

This newspaper asked White what his reaction is to Dr. Anthony Fauci’s recent call for a nationwide mask mandate. “I don’t know what that means,” White responded. “We have locations like North Dakota where there is one person every 5 to 6 acres. But there are other areas which are much denser like department stores in big cities. If you’re going to dense places, like groceries stores, or where there are senior citizens, it makes sense to put the mask on.”

White made it clear that he doesn’t think that wearing masks or following specific hygienic practices “always provide the panacea.” “People need to use their sense under their circumstances,” White said.

Representative White received a 64% rating in the Empower Texans’ Fiscal Responsibility Index for 2019 Legislative Session.

His official biography follows:

State Representative James White is a native Texan born in Houston, TX. He attended Houston ISD public schools before graduating with honors from Prairie View A&M University in 1986 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science. In addition, he completed his doctorate in political science at the University of Houston.

The United States Congress commissioned Rep. White as an officer of Infantry in the U.S. Army. His service included an assignment with the Berlin Brigade from 1987-90 during the demise of the Soviet Union.

After leaving the Army with an Honorable Discharge in 1992, Rep. White began a career as a public school educator in the Houston area. He continued his teaching career in Fort Bend, Livingston, and Woodville independent school districts. He taught United States history, Texas history, and geography at the secondary level. Rep. White also taught U.S. Government and Economics at the collegiate and high school level. Rep. White coached high school football, basketball, and soccer and officiated youth sports.

Rep. White was first elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 2010. Throughout his tenure in the Legislature, Rep. White has been a strong advocate for the residents of District 19 and is committed to ensuring the people of Hardin, Jasper, Newton, Polk, and Tyler counties are well represented in the State Legislature. He believes in the fundamental values of strong families, constitutional government, and economic prosperity. He has been recognized for practicing these core values through various awards including: Texas Monthly Magazine “2019 Best Legislator”; Texas Association of Business “Champions for Free Enterprise”; Texas Eagle Forum “Most Conservative Rating”; American Conservative Union “Award for Conservative Excellence”; Conservative Roundtable of Texas “Lone Star Conservative Leader”; National Federation of Independent Business in Texas “100% Rating”; Texas Right to Life “Perfect Pro-Life Voting Record.” The Texas Justice of the Peace and Constable Association recognized Rep. White as their 2015 Legislator of the Year. Additionally, Texas Appleseed honored Rep. White in 2015 for authoring landmark legislation that decriminalized truancy for juveniles in Texas.

Currently, Rep. White serves as Chairman of the House Committee on Corrections and sits on the Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence, Redistricting, and Driver’s License Issuance & Renewal committees. He has previously served on the County Affairs, Agriculture and Livestock, Human Trafficking, Juvenile Justice and Family Issues, Emerging Issues in Law Enforcement, Transportation Planning, Mental Health, International Trade & Intergovernmental Affairs, and Opioid & Substance Abuse committees.

In 2011, he passed House Bill (HB) 1503 allowing for the appointment of qualified peace officers to a polling station. Then in 2013, Rep. White passed HB 1129 creating a pilot program that allowed active duty military voters abroad the ability to cast their ballots in an efficient manner. The program was expanded statewide in 2015. This past session, his legislative office worked on legislation reforming our correctional institutions. He sponsored Senate Bill (SB) 183 which imposed a criminal penalty on those who were charged of improper sexual conduct with juveniles in custody. Through SB 1024, Rep. White authorized the Windham School District to provide credit leading to a high school diploma or certificate to TDCJ offender-students who complete curriculum requirements. In addition, Rep. White joint-sponsored body camera legislation that aids in reducing the number of false claims made against law enforcement officers (SB 158) and enhancing transparency during investigatory stops.

Rep. White also passed legislation affecting Texas youth in 2015. SB 409 limited access to and protected the confidential records of youth in the juvenile justice information system. Furthermore, HB 2398 enhanced student school attendance and academic achievement. The legislation decriminalized truancy offenses but maintained the criminal offense for adults that contribute to truancy.

Rep. White and his wife, Gem, reside in Tyler County where he maintains a small cattle ranch and works as a business development consultant. He attends and worships at Hillister Baptist Church. Additionally, he is a active member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, and the Texas Farm Bureau.



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