COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – Representative G. Murrell Smith, Jr. has been elected as Speaker of the South Carolina House of Representatives.

It comes after current speaker, Jay Lucas, said in March that he would step down from his leadership post at the end of the year’s regular session.

Smith, who represents District 67 in Sumter County, was first elected to office in 2000. He graduated from Wofford College in 1990 and later attended the University of South Carolina School of Law.

While his current term will come to an end this November, Smith previously announced he will seek re-election in 2022.

Speaker Lucas released the following statement:

“The role of House Speaker is a great honor and a great responsibility that carries with it a distinguished history. I have had the personal privilege of working closely with Murrell over the past 22 years, and I have learned a great deal about his character and skill. I have seen the dedication he gives, not only to our state and to this Body, but to each and every member seated in this Chamber today. I know Murrell is the right person to lead the House and guide it on the best course for our beloved state.”

Lucas has served in the House since 1999 and actively represents District 65 – including Chesterfield, Darlington, Kershaw and Lancaster counties.

The year’s regular session will come to an end on May 12.