A longtime North Charleston legislator will resign his seat to become a part-time judge.
State Rep. Jackson “Seth” Whipper, D-N. Charleston, gave his farewell speech in the South Carolina House of Representatives Tuesday after 22 years in the chamber. The Senate last week confirmed his appointment by Gov. Henry McMaster to a part-time magistrate position in the city of North Charleston. He will fill out the rest of the term for retiring magistrate David Coker.
The 67-year-old Whipper said he will miss being able to make a difference in the legislature. “We’ve had some really exciting times and moments,” he told fellow lawmakers in his farewell address. “Hopefully we’ve done some good for the state of South Carolina.”
He was among the chamber’s more progressive members and usually rose to question or debate Republican proposals he felt impacted South Carolina’s poor or minority residents. He was perhaps one of the most vocal critics of looser gun restrictions which the GOP majority has pushed for the last decade in the House.
Due to his progressive stances and position in the minority party for his entire term, few of Whipper’s proposals became law. He was the lead sponsor of a 2008 law which made it easier for students with single military parents to stay enrolled in their current school once that parent is deployed. He also sponsored a 2002 law which allowed South Carolina courts to accept payments by credit card.
However, he said Tuesday he was proud of his role in passing 2010 legislation which cracked down on predatory lending.
Whipper’s peers said they respected the attorney’s wisdom and work ethic despite his relatively low profile in the chamber. “I’m certainly going to miss him,” seatmate State Rep. Robert Brown, D-Hollywood, said.
He plans to stay in office for another month to handle budget vetoes before stepping down.