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Jesse White on career in politics, holiday drinking

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(AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

If you’ve been to your local Illinois Secretary of State’s office to get your driver’s license renewed lately, chances are you’ve seen Jesse White’s picture on the wall gazing down at you. He’s served as Illinois’ Secretary of State for more than a decade and is one of the guests on Tuesday's Afternoon Shift, but just how much do you know about him? Here’s a chance to test your Jesse White knowledge…

Jesse White:

a) Is also a librarian

b) Was mentored by former Cook County Board President and Democratic Party leader George Dunne

c) Played professional baseball with the Chicago Cubs

d) Was a gymnast growing up

e) All of the above

Okay, the answer is E.  (Isn’t it always the “all of the above” option?)

As Secretary of State, White is also the Illinois State Librarian. In addition to archiving, The Illinois State Library is responsible for distributing literacy and library grants throughout the state.

White was mentored by the late Democratic giant George Dunne. In fact, Dunne reportedly dined with White and fellow mentees Walter Burnett and Burt Natarus on weekly basis until his death in 2006.

In high school and college, White excelled at basketball and baseball.  He even went on to play in the minor leagues with the Chicago Cubs before entering the world of politics. 

White was a gymnast growing up, and has remains connected to the sport today.  He founded the Jesse White Tumblers more than 50 years ago to bring tumbling to underserved youth.

Tuesday on Afternoon Shift, Jesse White stops by to remind you not to drink and drive this Independence Day. According to his office, 69 percent of the deaths that occurred last 4th of July were related to alcohol. We’ll get an update on what plans are in place to lower that number and talk to him about his decades in local politics. Recently, White has come under scrutiny for helping appoint State Rep. Derrick Smith, who faces a federal bribery charge. Tune in just after 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday for more.

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