By W. Thomas Smith Jr.
South Carolina Senator Thomas C. Alexander (R–District 1–Oconee and Pickens Counties) was sworn-in as president of the S.C. Senate, Dec. 6, following a Senate-members election in which he received enthusiastic support from both sides of the aisle.
“Not surprising,” say colleagues and friends who have worked closely with Alexander for the past three decades-plus wherein the new president has held key leadership posts in both the S.C. House of Representatives and the S.C. Senate. Alexander is, in fact, the first legislator to have served as chairman of both the House Labor, Commerce and Industry (LC&I) committee and then the Senate LC&I committee.
“He [Alexander] literally puts the servant back into servant leadership and public service,” said Dr. Tom Mullikin, a longtime friend of Alexander and chair of the S.C. Floodwater Commission. “This is a reality about this man and model legislator that is broadly recognized, and it is why he received the kind of bipartisan backing he did in the election.”
Alexander succeeds Sen. Harvey Peeler, who stepped down as president of the Senate in order to chair the powerful Senate Finance Committee following last month’s passing of the late Finance Committee Chair Hugh Leatherman, 90.
A 1978 graduate of Clemson University, owner of Alexander’s Office Supply in the Upstate, husband, father of three children and grandfather to 13; Alexander began his political career when – like his father – he was elected to the Walhalla City Council in 1982. Three years later, he became Mayor Pro Tempore. In 1986, he was elected to the S.C. House of Representatives. In 1994, he was elected Senator.
In addition to chairing the LC&I Committee, Alexander’s Senate committee assignments have included Banking and Insurance, Ethics, Finance, Interstate Cooperation, Legislative Oversight (Chairman), and Medical Affairs.
(Photo courtesy S.C. Senate)