The Mr. East Texas Award was established in 1967 and is presented at the discretion of the operating board of directors to the East Texan who best exemplifies the spirit and quality of leadership which advances, shapes and gives direction to the growth and progress of East Texas.



Congratulations to Mr. East Texas 2024! 


James E. White


The Tyler County Dogwood Festival is pleased to announce the 2024 ‘Mr. East Texas’, Mr. James E. White.  James White is a 5th generation native Texan. He was born in Houston and attended Houston ISD public schools.  White graduated with honors from Prairie View A&M University in 1986 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science.  He later completed his doctorate in political science at the University of Houston.

The United States Congress commissioned White as an officer of Infantry in the U.S. Army in 1986. 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, White began a career as a public school educator in the Houston area.  He taught at Fort Bend, Livingston, and Woodville Independent School Districts. Throughout his public school teaching career, he taught United States History, Texas History, and Geography at the secondary level. White also taught U.S. Government and Economics at both the collegiate and high school level.  In addition to his teaching duties, White coached high school football, basketball, and soccer and officiated youth sports.

In 2010, his fellow East Texans elected White to his first term in the Texas House of Representatives. Throughout his tenure in the Legislature, White strived to be a strong advocate for his fellow East Texans in Tyler, Angelina, Trinity, San Jacinto, Polk, Jasper, Newton, and Hardin counties for six terms. During his tenure, he authored and passed key legislation that championed our Texas Veterans, strengthened the East Texas logging industry, boosted the salaries of Texas correctional officers and DPS troopers, supported victims of crimes, and addressed challenges in the Texas juvenile justice and child support systems.  Serving as Chairman of the House Committee on Corrections and the House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety, White thoughtfully championed criminal justice and public safety reform and played a key role in the most recent buildup of security defenses of the Texas border.

Currently, White is serving the State of Texas as the Executive Director of the Texas Funeral Service Commission.


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