MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – Friends and former colleagues are remembering the life of Arthur Ravenel Jr.
According to the former U.S. and state lawmaker’s family, he passed away on January 16 at the age of 95.
Ravenel’s political career dates back to 1953 when he served in the South Carolina State House. He would eventually go on to become a state senator before heading to Washington D.C. in 1987 to serve as a United States Representative for South Carolina’s first congressional district.
Former South Carolina and U.S. lawmaker, Tommy Hartnett, held the same seat in Congress right before Ravenel. He remembers what it was like to pass the baton down to his friend.
“He was well-liked, some of them said ‘who was this fellow that you sent up here to take your place? ‘He’s a wild man!’ And I said ‘well he gets things done so, he can be as wild as he wants to,’” Hartnett told News 2.
Ravenel worked in Congress until 1995, but according to former colleagues, his heart was always in the Lowcountry.
“He hated Congress… He came up one day and he said, ‘I’d love to switch places with you.’ And I said ‘yeah right, sure you would.’ And he said ‘no I mean it.’ He said ‘I don’t like being up there with all of those people, I like being at home,’” said Sherry Martschink, a former South Carolina State Senator who succeeded Ravenel.
Dr. Delores Dacosta is the Executive Director of the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs. She told News 2 she knew Ravenel since she was a young girl. Her father helped Ravenel locate families who needed affordable housing, a project the politician worked on in Awendaw and McClellanville years ago.
Dr. Dacosta eventually went on to work with Ravenel in the U.S. House of Representatives. She credits Ravenel with jump starting her career in Washington D.C., working for other members of Congress.
“I can remember working on Capitol Hill. I had just had my first son and childcare was so expensive. And he said ‘Delores, you could bring that baby in the office on days when the House is out of session and watch your baby right here in the office.’ And that’s what I did. He’s a family person,” recalled Dr. Dacosta.
After serving in Congress, Ravenel was later elected for another term as a state senator with one major goal in mind, securing funding for a new bridge to connect Mount Pleasant and the Greater Charleston area. He came through for his community when the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge opened in 2005.