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Sen. Tom White, District 8, Omaha. (Michael McNamara)

I have a horse named Elvis. He's an appendix quarter horse, which means he's about 80 percent thoroughbred. He's out of one side Native Dancer, the other side Easy Jet, which are famous horses. Easy Jet's the all-time money winner in a quarter horse.

He hates trail riding because he loves to go fast. But I hunter jump. I jump fences on him.

My son is a sophomore at Creighton Prep and participates in football, wrestling, track, weightlifting.

Reilly Marie is an eighth-grade student at St. Cecilia's. She rides horses, plays golf and runs a 4-by-400, runs the anchor, and long jumps on the  track team.

(Logan and Reilly) are both extremely good students and both good athletes.

Barb is an attorney, as well. We met at Creighton law school. We graduated in 1983.

My father (C. Thomas White) was county attorney, then he was district judge, Supreme Court judge then he retired as chief justice.

My mother was an RN though she passed away when I was young. I was 11. The effect was profound. It just makes you realize the fragility of life. For me it was an enormous loss.

I have an older sister, Michaela. She lives six doors down from me now. She's a professor at Creighton University School of Law. I have a brother, Patrick, and he is a public defender at Cook County, Illinois.

My grandfather lived with us, which was hugely important to me. He was a wonderful man. He was probably the most intelligent human being I've ever met. And I've met some smart ones.

He graduated from Creighton Prep in 1911. When he was 80 he could recite large parts of “The Iliad” by memory in Latin and then translate it or “The Odyssey” in Greek and translate it. He didn't get to go to college because his father had lung disease from working as a miner and died. So he went to work to support his mother and seven siblings.

I like to read different things at different times. Right now I'm reading "American Scoundrel," which is a biography of an American political general. I've read a lot of Shakespeare for many years, read a lot of Yeats, Emily Dickinson.

I like so many of Emily Dickenson's poems. The one I have marked is: "Surgeons must be very careful When they take the knife! Underneath their fine incisions stirs the culprit — life."

Shakespeare has a greater sense of humanity, has the ability to make his villains, when he wishes, more human, and his heroes more vulnerable. He makes a guy who is so thoroughly evil, so driven by his deformities, so intensely human.

I watch "Boston Legal," which cracks me up. It's like watching your profession in a funhouse mirror. It's hilarious.

I was a partner in what I believe what the oldest law firm in the state. … But when my father retired off the bench, I wanted to practice with him and that firm had an anti-nepotism rule. So we set up a shop, another classmate of mine, and we have six or seven lawyers.

I do a lot of civil rights. But I also represent a lot of businesses in complex, high dollar commercial litigation.

If you do what I do professionally, pretty much the glass has been broken and you're just there to kind of sweep it up. The damages have been done and you're just applying the law to try to sort out the pieces. The opportunity to be constructive, to try to prevent losses, injuries, to guide policy, instead of react to policy that's already been made, was very attractive.

Here, my colleagues have been uniformly hard working. They are so intelligent and with life experiences that are very different than mine and they bring into the chamber a wealth of knowledge in areas I'm completely ignorant of and so the opportunity to learn from them I've really enjoyed.

I think sometimes the debate is stifled for fear of consequences, so I wish and have hoped that as this big class gets more acclimatized they can be more forthright.

And I think they are becoming more and more confident, more able to just get out and say what they think. Because they have so much knowledge, the more outwardly blunt they can be the better.

One of the few blessings of getting older is hopefully you get a little more efficient.

I worry about the longterm viability of the current nuclear status. I deeply worry that we're going to see proliferation of nuclear bombs and we're going to be targeted.

I worry about the longterm viability of the American economy, particularly with regard to the trade imbalance and the deficit and what kind of economy I'm going to pass on to my children and my grandchildren.

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I distinctly remember being in second grade and being advised that we were the largest creditor nation in the world, that we needed nothing from anyone, we manufactured everything we wanted, we had enough energy and oil and we were protected by great oceans and we were incredibly blessed to live in America.

I looked at the world that was handled to me in the early '60s and then I look at the world that I am handing on and I worry about that.

We've made enormous progress in race relations. As rude as it was, Don Imus being fired for his comments are so much less than watching them unleash vicious dogs on peaceful African American protesters in Birmingham. Or watching Martin Luther King be assassinated or watching Chicago burn or in my case in Omaha, when the great riots occurred, my great uncle's grocery store being burned to the ground.

What passes now for horrible racial tension is greatly lessened and I think that is all for the good. 

I wish people were more engaged in the political process.

The last trip we took as a family, we got a sleeper car and took a train trip through the southwest, stopped at the Grand Canyon, went to LA then up to San Francisco and then back, stopping and spending time.

I like trains. I like traveling by them. That was great fun.

I cannot sing a lick and I'd give anything to be able to. Well, almost anything.

I like jazz and blues. Although my kids are getting me into indie pop, a band Death Cab for Cutie, very literate, some of their lyrics are just outstanding. I enjoy them very much. Sometimes I listen to Cake. It's a band as well. Some of  the Saddle Creek record stuff, Conor Oberst's stuff, Bright Eyes. But mostly ‘40s, ‘50s, ‘60s jazz.

A lot of times (on the drive to Omaha) I just think, analyze what happened on the day, analyze what's going to happen, what I need to get done.

My golf game? I've been better. But I'm not giving it the attention it deserves. It's a problem child right now.

Reach JoAnne Young at 473-7228 or jyoung@journalstar.com.  

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