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David Wilkins. South Carolina’s Speaker of the House. Ellison John. David Horton Wilkins. Biography. Born on October 12, 1946. Graduated from Clemson University in 1968 with a bachelors degree. Graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law 1971 with a juris doctor degree.

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david wilkins

David Wilkins

South Carolina’s Speaker of the House



  • Born on October 12, 1946.
  • Graduated from Clemson University in 1968 with a bachelors degree.
  • Graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law 1971 with a juris doctor degree.
  • Served in the Army in 1971 and the Army Reserve from 1973 to 1976.
  • Is married to Margaret Susan Clary and has two grown children.
  • Was first elected to represent District 24 in the South Carolina House of Representatives in 1980.
  • Is a senior partner of the law practice that his father started the year he was born.
list of legislative accomplishments
List of Legislative Accomplishments
  • Sponsored the Truth in Sentencing Bill that abolished parole for violent offenders.
  • Sponsored the Family Independence Act of 1995 which comprehensively reformed welfare.
  • Sponsored the Property Tax Relief Act that provided the largest tax reduction in history of South Carolina.
  • Sponsored the Enterprise Zone Act which generated new ways to bring more new jobs to the state.
  • Introduced the Safe Schools Act.
  • Introduced the Guilty But Mentally Ill Act.
  • Was given the offer to become Ambassador to Chili.
  • Wrote the Felony-Misdemeanor Classification Law.
list of legislative accomplishments5
List of Legislative Accomplishments
  • Was the first Republican to become South Carolina’s Speaker of the House since reconstruction.
  • Introduced the Adoption Act.
  • Was offered to me made a Federal Court Judge.
  • Introduced the Ethics Act.
  • Introduced the Government Accountability and Campaign Reform Act of 1991.
  • Co-sponsored the Reconstructing State Government Act.
  • Co-sponsored the Education Improvement Act.
  • Has been named Outstanding Legislator of the Year by the S.C. Chamber of Commerce, the Department of Probation and Parole, the S.C. School Boards Association, the S.C. College Republicans, and the S.C. Student Legislature.
facts about david h wilkins
Facts AboutDavid H. Wilkins
  • Son, James, is 25 years old and, like his father, graduated from Clemson University.
  • Son, Robert, is now 24 years old and in his second year at the University of South Carolina School of Law.
  • Hobbies are politics and yard work.
  • Favorite vacation spot is Pawley’s Island.
  • Favorite personal trait is determination.
  • Least favorite personal trait is impatience.
facts about david h wilkins continued
Facts aboutDavid H. Wilkins (Continued)
  • People he most admires are Ronald Reagan and his mother, Evelyn Horton.
  • Most life-defining personal experiences were the adoption of his first son, and the birth of his second son.
  • Cars are a Ford Explorer and a Jeep Cherokee.
  • Political affiliation is Republican.
  • Trait valued most in others is loyalty
  • Least favorite trait in others is inflated ego.
keeping students interests first key to lottery s success a speech by david wilkins

Keeping Students’ Interests First Key to Lottery’s Success:A speech by David Wilkins

The most important issues we face as a community and as a state remain constant. Improving our schools, relieving the tax burden on families, bettering infrastructure, and reducing crime are all top priorities.

The High death toll on our highways and explosion of growth in our towns and cities also make these front burner issues.

But I want to address one specific issue vitally important to all South Carolina and one in which I will be directly involved over the next few months and that’s developing the legislation for a state-run lottery.

The people of South Carolina have spoken and they support a lottery. But they approved a concept, not a specific plan. The General Assembly will not rubber-stamp any one proposal but rather will pass lottery legislation only after thoughtful debate and scrutiny. That’s what democracy is all about.

On the heels of releasing our state from the scourge of video gambling, I think there is nothing more important than pressing the most accountable, most responsible lottery legislation in the nation. That should be our goal, pure and simple.

If we’re not careful, we could substitute one form of gambling influence for another. That’s why we must be diligent in crafting a lottery bill that honors the promises made to South Carolina school children. Most importantly, the majority of lottery dollars must pour into the coffers of education and not the pockets of highly paid consultants. Lottery funds must supplement education funding, not become a substitute for it.

keeping students interests first key to lottery s success continued

Keeping Students’ Interests First Key to Lottery’s Success (Continued)

Advertising should be limited. We must avoid preying on those who can least afford it.

And we must keep video gambling dead and buried by prohibiting the use of lottery video terminals or other high stakes machines that could resurrect the poker industry. We should push for legislation that prohibits anyone with financial ties to the lottery from contributing to political parties or candidates.

But these are just a few of many worthy ideas to be considered.

I urge all who care about the future of our state to carefully watch the lottery debate in the Legislature and speak with your elected representatives about your ideas and concerns.

Working together, we can make a lottery work for South Carolina students by keeping only their interests at heart and the special interests at bay.


InterviewDavid Wilkins had not responded to our interview questions by the time that this project was due, but we were able to make contact with his next door neighbor, Richard Furman. This is an interview of Richard Furman about David Wilkins.

Q:  Why did he choose the career path that he did?

A: He was is a lawyer, his father was involved in politics, and his brother is a judge.

Q:  Describe what he might do on a typical day at his job?

A: He is primarily a domestic lawyer, which means he handles many divorce cases, and he has a reputation as one of the top divorce attorneys in the county. On an average day, he would probably meet with some clients and do other things associated with his divorce-based law practice.


Q:  What might he do for his job as Speaker of the House?

A: That job involves a great deal of negotiation with all sorts of people. He has many appointments to make, meetings to attend to, negotiations with the general assembly, meetings with the constituents, and fundraising efforts.

  • What is your association with David Wilkins like?
  • He is a very intense individual. He at one time was a very accomplished tennis player. He’s very self-confident. He has a good rapport with his constituents, and can be very persuasive.
  • How well do you know David Wilkins?

A. Casually, but pleasantly. He is not home very often as a result of his political schedule, so I do not get to see him often. But I have thoroughly enjoyed the little time that I have spent with him.






“David H Wilkins” Caroll’s State Directory. Caroll Publishing, 2003.

Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: The Gale Group. 2003. http://galenet.galegroup.com/se

This source included a brief biography of David Wilkins.

Hammond, James T. “David Wilkins: His life is anchored in family and tradition.” The Greenville News 1 Jan. 2001: B3.

This source had an article about his life and accomplishments and some interesting facts.

“Speaker David H. Wilkins” South Carolina Legislature Online. 15 Nov. 2002 http://www.lpitr.state.sc.us/members/bios/1927272496.html. 10 November 2003.

This source has biographical information about David Wilkins.

Wilkins, David H. “Keeping Students’ Interests First Key to Lottery’s Success: In his own words.” The Greenville News 1 Jan. 2001: B3.

This source had a speech by David Wilkins.

group members work

Title Slide


Little-Known Facts

Lottery Speech



Picture Slide


List of Accomplishments


Hyperlink Page

Group Members’ Work