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David Muldrow Beasley

David Muldrow Beasley served as Governor of South Carolina from 1995 to 1999, ushering in an era of unprecedented economic growth and a transformation of South Carolina government.

As Governor, David Beasley made "Putting Families First" the theme of his administration, then immediately set out on an ambitious agenda that would focus on tax cuts, crime fighting, welfare reform and economic development.

The results were dramatic: record-breaking capital investment, welfare caseloads cut in half, new technology and investments in the classroom, and tougher criminal sentencing.

In an effort to shrink government and return power to the taxpayers, Beasley worked closely with the South Carolina General Assembly to cut over a billion dollars in taxes. The lion's share was designated for property tax relief, and now the average homeowner in South Carolina pays no school operating taxes.

Beasley also campaigned in 1994 on the need to reform the decaying welfare system, and the next year the Family Independence Act became law. The law now places time limits on benefits, stops paying children to have children and makes job training mandatory. Even more critical, the entire mission of the Department of Social Services has been transformed from check-cutting to job placement, and caseloads continue to drop dramatically in all 46 counties and as much as 75% statewide for all able-bodied adults that were on welfare.

To help ensure the success of such reforms beyond the reach of government, Beasley established a public-private partnership to link needy families with people in churches, synagogues and civic clubs. Funded with remaining dollars from the Beasley Inaugural Committee, the Putting Families First Foundation acts as the facilitator and training center for the religious community to restore welfare families to self-sufficiency.

Jobs became plentiful for former welfare clients making the transition to self-sufficiency. Governor Beasley's four years in office made history as South Carolina's most successful years ever in economic development. Capital investment announcements from 1995 to 1998 shattered old records, totaling more than $22 billion and 110,000 new jobs. During his term in office, he led delegations on economic development and trade missions to countries throughout Asia, Europe, and Africa. Further, he met with more than 1,000 businesses resulting in the move or expansion of more than 400 large corporations into South Carolina including BMW, Fuji, Bose, Michelin, and Bridgestone/Firestone. When Governor Beasley left office, South Carolina was ranked number one in America in job growth, number one in America in personal income growth, and so on whereby South Carolina had become 'a' if not 'the' leader in the nation in economic development.

Understanding that future growth pivots on a quality workforce, Beasley also sought to reform South Carolina's public school system from the inside out. Pushing through a sweeping, back-to-basics accountability law in 1998, South Carolina schools now have rigorous, world-class standards for what every student in every grade should know and what every teacher should teach. A system is also in place to report back to parents how well their child's schools are meeting the new standards.

In addition, Governor Beasley successfully pushed through the General Assembly a plan to raise the number of credits required for graduation from South Carolina high schools.

But Beasley also wanted to reward students for meeting such higher standards of learning. By creating the Palmetto LIFE scholarship program, a student with a B average and at least a 1000 SAT score now earn essentially free tuition to any South Carolina public college or university.

This high-standards philosophy was paired with an emphasis on better and more accessible school technology. A statewide education technology plan helped equip each school with satellite capability, as well as fiber optic, cable and computer access for distance learning and hands-on instruction. South Carolina was the first state in the nation to have every school in the state wired for the internet.

Discipline and common sense was restored not only in the classroom, but also throughout the state's criminal justice system. During the Governor's first year in office, the General Assembly passed extensive crime legislation. This included a "2-strikes-3-strikes" provision, requiring that violent offenders receive a life sentence upon a second violent conviction and other violent and nonviolent offenders receive life sentences upon their third. Now South Carolina's prisons are places of daily work and discipline for every inmate.

In 1997, the nation's 32 Republican governors recognized Governor Beasley's progressive leadership and elected him chairman of the Republican Governors Association. The association set fund-raising records under the Governor's leadership, and the Republican Party continued to dominate the nation's Statehouses.

From January through May, 1999, Governor Beasley was a Fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. During such time Governor Beasley traveled to Russia and Macedonia where he worked with refugees and participated in discussions with leaders involved in the crisis in Kosovo.

Wife: Mary Wood Payne Beasley, married 1988
Children: Mary Hunter, 11, Sarah Catherine, 9, David Jr., 8, and Samuel Ross, 3.

Born: Feb. 26, 1957 to Richard and Jacqueline B. Beasley
Birthplace: Lamar, South Carolina
Education: Lamar High School. Clemson University, pursued microbiology major. Following election to the South Carolina House of Representatives, transferred to University of South Carolina after junior year. Bachelor of Arts, Interdisciplinary Studies, University of South Carolina. Juris Doctorate, University of South Carolina School of Law.
Also studied at the International Institute of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, and studied theology and law in the European Summer Program of the Simon Greenleaf School of Law, Strasbourg, France. Attended Capitol Page School, Washington, D.C.

Governor of South Carolina, 1995-1999
Chairman, Republican Governors Association, 1997-98
South Carolina House of Representatives, 1979-1992
House Speaker Pro Tempore, 1991-92
Chairman, House Education and Public Works Committee, 1989-90
House Majority Leader, 1987-88
Chairman, Joint Legislative Committee on Education, 1987
Vice-Chairman, Joint Legislative Committee on Children, 1987
Member, University of South Carolina Board of Trustees, 1990-91
Member, Francis Marion University Board of Trustees, 1988-91
India, ACYPL Delegation, 1987
Chairman, South Carolina Mining Council, 1985-86

Partner of Beasley, Ervin & Warr Law Firm, prior Governorship
VP and Executive at Carolina Bank & Trust Company, prior Governorship
Fellow at Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government, Institute of Politics, 1999
Principal, Bingham Consulting Group, 1999- 2001

Honorary Doctorates: University of South Carolina, The Citadel, Charleston Southern University, Regent University, the Medical University of South Carolina, the College of Charleston, Bob Jones University and Newberry College.

Received American Swiss Foundation Friendship Award, 1996

Watchdog of the Taxpayers Award, South Carolina State Treasurer, 1995.

Healthcare Accomplishments of Governer David M. Beasley