In memoriam ...
Originally published November 5, 2013
Lee C. White, a former Federal Power Commission chairman and adviser to Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Baines Johnson, died Oct. 31 of pneumonia. He was 90. White, who held both an electrical engineering degree and a law degree from the University of Nebraska, worked in the Tennessee Valley Authority’s legal division from 1950-54 before joining then-Sen. John Kennedy’s staff in 1954. As a White House aide from 1961-66, White worked on a variety of issues. When Special Assistant to the President Harris L. Wofford Jr. left in 1962 to accept a post with the Peace Corps, White inherited much of his responsibility for coordinating civil rights policy for the White House. He is given credit for an important role in helping get the Voting Rights Act of 1965 enacted. "His small space on the second floor was the only one I remember LBJ would trek up the stairs to visit," former White House Press Secretary Bill Moyers told the Washington Post. "President Johnson once told me, ‘I’d make that fella a judge if I didn’t need him so much.’"
After leaving the White House in 1966, White served almost three years as chairman of the Federal Power Commission, now the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. He left the commission to go into private law practice, specializing in regulatory law affecting utilities. In 1972, he managed Sergeant Shriver’s campaign for vice president. In 1985, White wrote a white paper for APPA, The Public’s First Right to Federally Generated Power: An Analysis of the Preference Principle. At the time of his death, he was of counsel to the Spiegel & McDiarmid law firm in Washington, D.C.
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