CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) – South Carolina political leaders are expressing their condolences Sunday night after learning of the death of former state lawmaker and pastor McKinley Washington Jr.
Washington Jr. served as a state senator for District 45, which includes Allendale, Beaufort, Charleston, Colleton, Hampton, and Jasper Counties from 1991-1999. Before that, he served House District 116, Charleston County, from 1975-1990.
“Saddened to hear about the passing of Senator McKinley Washington,” South Carolina Democratic gubernatorial candidate Joe Cunningham tweeted. “A legend of the Sea Islands and a pioneer in so many ways. I had the pleasure of spending time with he and Beulah just a few weeks ago. We are all better off because of his service and leadership to our state.”
State Sen. Marlon Kimson (D-Charleston) called Washington “a living sermon.”
“I’d rather see as a sermon than to hear one any day,” he posted on Twitter. “The Rev. McKinley Washington was a living sermon. He walked with us and showed us the way. While this lion of the Senate is known for his booming voice, he also listened and mentored. SC is far better off because he lived.”
In a 2012 resolution at the statehouse, Washington Jr. was honored after retiring as the pastor of Edisto Presbyterian Church on Edisto Island. He served the church for 50 years.
“So sorry to hear about former Senator McKinley Washington’s transition,” Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter (D-Orangeburg) tweeted. “A true public servant. My deepest sympathies to the family.”
Washington, who lived in Ravenel, served as a chairman of the South Carolina Legislative Black Caucus and as vice chair of the Charleston County Legislative Delegations. While in office, he served on numerous committees including the House Ways and Means, the Joint Committee on Tourism and Trade, the Medical Affairs, Finance, Education and Rules Committees.
He was the founder of the Edisto Branch of the NAACP and the St. Paul Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, according to his biography at the state government website.
“He was a great Senator and at one time a well-known humble Pastor of Edisto Presbyterian church, but most of all he was a good friend and someone I could go to for political advice, this is a great lost for all of South Carolina,” Rep. Wendell Gilliard, (D-Charleston) said.
He and his wife, Beulah, had two children, Katrina and Michael.
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