A three-term mayor of Houston, Texas, Bill White was born in San Antonio in 1954, the child of schoolteachers. He then attended Harvard on a scholarship, where he graduated in economics. After studying law at the University of Texas at Austin, where he edited the college law review, White joined the Houston practice of Susman Godfrey LLP, eventually becoming partner. After 14 years with the firm, he joined the Clinton administration in 1993 as Deputy Secretary of Energy, leaving two years later to take on boardroom duties in the private sector. He also served as state chairman of the Democratic Party in Texas during this time.
Immediately prior to running for mayor, White was serving as Chairman and CEO of the WEDGE Group, a Texan real estate developer. In his 2003 election bid, White stood as a moderate Democrat, winning against the Cuban American Orlando Sanchez, who had received President Bush’s endorsement in the previous election against Brown. White was then handsomely re-elected on the first round in 2005, with 91% of the vote. White's third term ended on January 2, 2010. Due to term limits, he was unable to run again for mayor of Houston.