CHICAGO (CBS) — He’s said it before, but Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White said he means it this time: he won’t be running for another term.
“Take it to the bank. This is it,” White said at Democrat Day at the Illinois State Fair.
The longest-serving secretary of state in Illinois history started his fifth term in January.
He was first elected to the office in 1998, and once said his fourth term as secretary of state would be his last, before changing his mind.
White said, when he retires, he’ll focus on the Jesse White Tumblers, a group he founded in 1959 to help underprivileged youth in Chicago.
“I’ve had over 16,500 young people. I have a center at 412 West Chicago Avenue. It’s called the Jesse White Community Center and Fieldhouse. It’s a state-of-the-art gymnastics facility, game room, weight room, computer lab,” he said.
White won’t completely step away from politics, though.
“I believe that the Democratic Party is a party of the people, and we have to make sure that we have good representation, so that those services that the people richly need and deserve will go forward,” he said.
White won his first term with 55 percent of the vote, and easily won re-election four times, garnering more than 60 percent each time.
Before he was elected secretary of state, he’d served as Cook County Recorder of Deeds, as state representative, and other elected posts. He also played professional baseball in the Cubs minor league system.