Ashley Byrd and O. Kay Henderson of SC Radio Network news partner Radio Iowa.
Former Governor Richard “Dick” Riley is attending his eleventh national convention this week in Philadelphia.
“The first one was for Jimmy Carter,” the 83-year-old said during an interview with the South Carolina Radio Network. “I headed up South Carolina there and we carried the state. I was very proud of that and then I’ve been here ever since.”
Riley was elected South Carolina’s governor two years after he helped Carter win the White House. President Carter put Riley in a key role at the 1980 Democratic National Convention in New York City.
“I was chairman of the platform drafting committee, so I was very much involved in the platform and presided over the convention for two or three hours,” he said. “And then, of course, during the Clinton years I was very much involved in all of that.”
Riley was President Bill Clinton’s only Secretary of Education. Riley said he “worked closely” with then-First Lady Hillary Clinton when he was in the cabinet.
“I have enormous respect for her,” Riley said. “She’s a very honorable person. She’s a great leader and I really think she’ll end up being a world leader if elected and, then, if supported.”
Riley served eight years as governor after a 14-year career in the state legislature. He was in the midst of debate once again on the convention floor late Monday afternoon as Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders delegates engaged in a shouting match. Convention conflict is nothing new to Riley, but he described the 2016 squabbling as a “big matter” that he hopes is being resolved.
“Bernie Sanders really came on strong, brought some wonderful points out there,” Riley said. “Frankly, a lot of them are incorporated in the platform and I think it was very well received and I’m glad it was, so I think that is going to help us all come together.
So, four years from now, will Riley try to secure a spot at the 2020 Democratic National Convention?
“Well, I’ll have to see. As far as I know, I’ll be right here,” Riley said.
It would be Riley’s 12th national convention.