Wendell Gilliard

South Carolina Representative, District 111

Raised on the East Side of downtown Charleston, Representative Wendell Gilliard has dedicated his life to public service — first as a community organizer, then as an elected official. After graduating from Rivers High School in 1973, Gilliard set out on a lifelong journey of continuous education. Gilliard studied at DeVry University, the Labor Organizing College at the University of Tennessee, and the Political Science program of NLC University. Gilliard worked for 28 years as a Plant Operator at the Rhodia Chemical Company. Fifteen of those years were spent serving as a top labor organizer for the United Steelworkers of America. Additionally, during those fifteen years, he served as President of the United Steelworkers Local #863. Gilliard served on the Charleston City Council from 1997 to 2008, ultimately becoming Mayor Pro Tempore and earning a number of awards and recognitions, including the Arthur J. Clement Award for Excellence in Race Relations. Elected to the State House in 2008, Gilliard’s district covers parts of West Ashley, North Charleston, and the Charleston peninsula, including Mother Emanuel AME Church. In the aftermath of the tragedy, Gilliard pledged to his constituents that he would push for the enactment of hate crime legislation.

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