Longtime State Senator Leatherman passes away; lawmakers pay tribute

Columbia, S.C. (WPDE/WOLO)– Florence Senator Hugh Leatherman passed away early Friday morning, according to Leatherman’s longtime Chief of Staff Quentin Hawkins.

Hawkins said three weeks ago that Leatherman had been in the hospital for some serious health issues, but was at home resting with family.

Leatherman was one of the longest-serving lawmakers in the South Carolina General Assembly.

He had been in the South Carolina Senate for the past 40 years; he was first elected in 1981.

Multiple state lawmakers are paying tribute to the late Senator.

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.”

The governor says he will soon order that flags be lowered in honor of Senator Leatherman’s service to the state of South Carolina, once funeral arrangements are made and announced.

Former Congressman and Democratic candidate for governor 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.”

Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey:

“I, along with members of the entire Senate Majority Caucus, join the Leatherman family in mourning the passing of our colleague, Senator Hugh Leatherman.

“With four decades of service in the South Carolina State Senate, Senator Leatherman – better known to many as Mr. Chairman – will have a long legacy marked in every corner of the state and mirrored through the Senate chambers for decades to come. His warm smile, commitment to community, never-stop work ethic, and resolute focus will forever be remembered.

“We share our love, thoughts, and prayers with his dear wife Jean, children, family, friends, constituents, staff and colleagues. Godspeed, Mr. Chairman.”

SCGOP Chairman Drew McKissick :

The South Carolina Senate Democratic Caucus:

“We were saddened to hear the news this morning that our colleague, State Senator Hugh Leatherman, has passed. Every member of our caucus feels incredibly privileged to have worked alongside Chairman Leatherman for a period of time in his impressive tenure in the South Carolina Senate. His wisdom and steadfast devotion to public service will be greatly missed.

“Chairman Leatherman was an effective leader, a true statesman, and an influential changemaker. He has undoubtedly left a permanent mark on South Carolina—a legacy that will long live on in the many people he inspired, the lives he touched, and the profound work he did over 40 years in office. We are sincerely grateful for all he did to make our state a better place.

“We offer our deepest condolences and prayers for Senator Leatherman’s family and loved ones.”

Interim University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides:

“I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of one of South Carolina’s great leaders, Sen. Hugh Leatherman. 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 he has. 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 Jean and his loving family. May he Rest in Eternal Peace.”

U.S. Sen. 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.

Categories: Local News, News, Politics, State