CHARLESTON, S.C. — John Graham Altman, a former Republican legislator and Charleston County School Board member known for his sharp tongue, has died. He was 79.
Altman's family confirmed Tuesday that the former state representative had died. Funeral arrangements have not yet been made.
Altman retired from the S.C. House in 2006 after representing a West Ashley district of Charleston for 20 years. He previously was a member of the Charleston school board for 20 years, including four years as chairman.
The attorney did not mince words.
In 2005, Altman unintentionally sparked a push for harsher penalties for domestic violence offenders after he told a reporter he didn't understand why women returned to abusive relationships.
“John Graham Altman was a true conservative,” S.C. House Spekare Bobby Harrell, R-Charleston, said Tuesday. “You always knew where you stood with him, he never hesitated to say exactly what was on his mind. John was a dear friend of mine and we are all going to miss him.”
Altman got his start in politics as a Democrat, working as former Gov. Fritz Hollings' spokesman from 1959 to 1963.