Local and state leaders remember late State Senator Hugh Leatherman

South Carolina News

FILE – In this Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017 file photo, Sen. Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence, listens to a speaker during the first day of legislative session at the South Carolina Statehouse in Columbia, S.C. State Sen. Hugh Leatherman, South Carolina’s oldest and most powerful state lawmaker, is currently receiving hospice care after the discovery of an inoperable cancer, Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021.(AP Photo/Sean Rayford, File)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- Leaders from across South Carolina are reacting to the death of longest-serving State Senator, Hugh Leatherman, on Friday morning.

Governor Henry McMaster

“A powerful force for the progress and prosperity of our people has left us. For over fifty years, Hugh Leatherman poured his life into our state and we are the better for it. He loved his work and kept his word. He never quit. We will miss him. May God bless him and his family.” 

State Senator Marlon Kimpson (via Twitter)

“A giant tree has fallen. Each and every year since 2014, Chair Leatherman helped me deliver money back to Charleston for multiple projects. He was a fixture, an institution and a good man who will be dearly missed. Sending prayers and grace to his family.”

 SCGOP Chairman Drew McKissick

“Senator Leatherman dedicated almost half of his life to serving the people of Florence County and South Carolina. His commitment to the Port and so many other initiatives propelled our state forward. We’re grateful for his decades of service, and our prayers are with Mrs. Jean and the rest of the Leatherman family.”

Former U.S House Representative and Gubernatorial Candidate Joe Cunningham

“Today, South Carolina lost a giant. Senator Leatherman spent his entire adult life fighting for our state and the people of Florence County and we are all better off because of his service. Few people have had a more positive impact on South Carolina than Hugh Leatherman. He was more than just an ambassador for the Palmetto State; he lived the values that everyone in public service should strive to uphold: compromise, bipartisanship, and putting people over politics. My deepest sympathies are with the entire Leatherman family, his Senate colleagues, and the people of Florence County. May his remarkable legacy live on forever.” 

SC Democratic Party (via Twitter)

“He was Florence County. As young deputy state treasurer serving Grady Patterson, I came to know & respect him. His team is top notch. Our heart s go out to his family,legislative colleagues, legislative staff and the people of Florence. When legend becomes fact print the legend.”

Attorney General Alan Wilson (via Twitter)

“Senator Leatherman was a larger than life presence through his public service to South Carolina. Jennifer and I offer our sincerest condolences to his family. He will be missed.”

SC House Speaker Jay Lucas (via Twitter)

“My heart is heavy today as I learned of the passing of Senator Leatherman. Hugh was a tireless advocate for this State and the Pee Dee for over 40 years. He was a close friend and a personal mentor. His tremendous legacy will never be forgotten and his leadership will be greatly missed by the General Assembly. My thoughts and prayers are with the Leatherman family during this difficult time.”

President of the Senate Harvey S. Peeler

“The people of the Pee Dee have lost a tireless advocate. The State of South Carolina has lost a
legendary Senate leader. His family has lost a loving husband, father and grandfather. I have lost
a friend and colleague spanning four decades beginning when we both were first elected to the
Senate in 1980. Hugh Leatherman’s impact on the State of South Carolina cannot be overstated.
No one worked harder or longer hours than the Senator from Florence. His detailed knowledge
of the state budget was unmatched. His imprint on the State of South Carolina is firmly fixed, not
only in history, but the future as well. Donna and I and the entire Peeler family thank Jean and her family for sharing Hugh with us, and we pray for the Lord’s peace in the days ahead.”

South Carolina Ports CEO Jim Newsome

“Senator Hugh K. Leatherman showed his love for the great state of South Carolina through his lifetime of service. He championed South Carolina Ports over many years to ensure we remained globally competitive as a top 10 U.S. container port. He supported many port infrastructure projects throughout the state, including his significant efforts to secure funding for the Charleston Harbor Deepening Project and his support in launching rail-served Inland Port Dillon. SC Ports named the country’s newest container terminal, the Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal, in recognition of his unwavering support and enduring legacy. His leadership has impacted us all and we will miss him greatly.”

South Carolina Ports COO Barbara Melvin

“Senator Hugh K. Leatherman was a great visionary, leader and friend who dedicated his life to serving South Carolina. He understood what our state needed to succeed, and he worked tirelessly to bring economic prosperity to South Carolinians. He was an ardent supporter of South Carolina Ports, sharing in our vision and providing resources that enabled our world-class port to grow tremendously. Even with all his accomplishments, he was known for his humility and his authenticity. He will be missed by all who were fortunate enough to know him.”

South Carolina Ports Board Chairman Bill Stern

“Senator Hugh K. Leatherman has left an enduring footprint on South Carolina. Our economy has thrived because of his invaluable efforts to attract foreign direct investment to the state, creating tens of thousands of jobs. The necessary infrastructure to fluidly move people and goods throughout the state has been funded and constructed during his tenure. Most importantly for SC Ports, he took a keen interest in our success; and during my service on the Ports Board, he has provided steadfast support and guidance as evidenced by the naming of our new container terminal in his honor. Chairman Leatherman’s accomplishments are innumerable, and I have grown as a leader because of his collaborative and winning spirit. The gift of which I am most honored and proud is the ability to call him my friend. Our prayers are with his loving family during this difficult time.”

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham

“Senator Leatherman was a giant in the South Carolina Senate. When it came to the needs of South Carolina – from the mountains to the sea and everywhere in between – he was always at the forefront of breakthrough change. He had a statewide perspective that served South Carolina well. His leadership was indispensable in recruiting Boeing to South Carolina, and he was a great champion of the Port of Charleston. Senator Leatherman loved his hometown and the Pee Dee. He was the most effective voice for his region of the state one could have ever imagined. He was a tireless advocate always focused on building for a stronger and better future. Senator Leatherman was a leader. He was a great friend and a kind and caring man. His leadership, mentorship, and steady hand will be missed. My thoughts are with his wife and his family during this difficult time. Today, South Carolina has lost a legend.”

SC. Department of Employment and Workforce Director Dan Ellzey

“On behalf of the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce, I want to offer my
deepest sympathies to Senator Leatherman’s family. Senator Leatherman was a giant among
men and a leader for not only the Pee Dee, but the entire state of South Carolina. The impact of
his commitment to making our state a better place will be felt for generations to come.”

State Senator Mia McLeod (via Twitter)

“Sen. Leatherman was a powerful force in our state and we will miss him dearly. What I loved most about him is that he cared. He listened. He had compassion and empathy for ALL of the people of this state. May he rest in Eternal Peace.”

U.S. Senator Tim Scott (via Twitter)

“I’ve always respected Senator Leatherman’s dedication to the people of South Carolina. His tireless service will never be forgotten. My prayers are with his family in their time of grief.”

U.S. House Representative Nancy Mace (via Twitter)

“So sad to hear the news of the passing of SC Senator Hugh Leatherman. During his public service, he was a crucial part of the South Carolina’s growth and prosperity over the last few decades. Rest in Peace and God bless.”

S.C. House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford (via Twitter)

“South Carolina lost a giant today. Hugh Leatherman was a great man and public servant who left a lasting legacy. His impact will be felt for generations and his work will benefit South Carolinians for many years.”

S.C. House Majority Leader Gary Simrill (via Twitter)

“Mourning the passing of Sen. Hugh Leatherman. A stalwart leader, he left an indelible mark on South Carolina and her people through his steadfast commitment to a better and brighter future for all.”

South Carolina Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bob Morgan

“On behalf of the South Carolina business community, I am saddened by the news of Senator Leatherman’s passing but grateful for his many years of service. From bolstering the Port to bringing major companies to our state and the thousands of jobs that came with them, Senator Leatherman understood what it would take to help our state grow and thrive, and he dedicated his life to making it happen.”

State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman

“My heart is saddneed at the loss of a greater leader and friend. His commitment to all the people of South Carolina, especially our children, will be felt for generations. A special thank you and prayer for peace to his family for sharing their husband, father, and grandfather with all of us for so many years.”

University of South Carolina Interim President Harris Pastides

“From the South Carolina ports, to our roads to the businesses he recruited, and to our universities, few persons have had a greater impact on our state than Sen. Leatherman. He was a bold voice, undaunted in advancing the causes he championed, and his leadership will not be forgotten. I will never forget visiting with him in his office, seated closely in the chair to his right, listening to stories of the past and dreaming about the future. The university extends our sympathy to his wife, Jean, and his loving family. May he Rest in Eternal Peace.”

Clemson University President Jim Clements

“Clemson mourns the passing of Sen. Hugh Leatherman. A graduate of NC State University, Senator Leatherman understood and had great respect for the land-grant legacy that our institutions share. Throughout his long career in public service, he was a champion for education and our communities. He was a strong supporter of South Carolina’s public colleges and universities and our students and their families. He was a dear friend to Clemson University and Clemson PSA. Our thoughts are with his wife, Jean, and their family.”

U.S. House Representative Tom Rice

“Long before I ran for office, I respected Hugh Leatherman’s impeccable record of delivering results for the 7th District and the entire state of South Carolina. Since coming to Congress, I’ve had the opportunity to work with him on several occasions. Senator Leatherman didn’t hesitate to work across the aisle to get something done for South Carolinians. I’ve always known him to pursue smart, reasonable solutions and work hard to fix problems. Senator Leatherman was the epitome of a public servant and will be dearly missed in the halls of the South Carolina statehouse. Our prayers are with the Leatherman family, his colleagues in the South Carolina legislature, and those who knew his friendship, that they may find comfort in remembering an accomplished, honorable man.”

U.S. House Representative Ralph Norman (via Twitter)

“I am very saddened to learn of the passing of SC State Senator Hugh Leatherman earlier this morning. Always evident was his love for South Carolina and those who call this state home. Elaine and I send our deepest condolences and ask for prayers for Hugh and his family.”

State Senator Larry Grooms (via Twitter)

“There are only a few people in the history of South Carolina who have had a greater impact on our state than Senator Hugh Leatherman. His legacy will positively impact many future generations to come. Please remember the Leatherman family in your prayers.”

S.C. Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers (via Twitter)

“I’m deeply saddened by the passing of Sen. Hugh Leatherman. South Carolina has lost a true statesman & leader. I was proud to call The Chairman a friend. He was always supportive of agriculture. Please join me in praying for Jean and the entire Leatherman family.”

This post will continue to be updated.

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