COLUMBIA, SC State Rep. Joan Brady has been a full-time lawmaker for 15 years, including stints as the mayor of Arcadia Lakes, vice chairwoman of Richland County Council and a member of the state House of Representatives, representing Northeast Richland County.
But Brady’s career in public life came to an abrupt end on Election Day as the four-term House member lost to Democrat attorney Beth Bernstein in a closely watched race.
Now, the 60-year-old Brady says she is taking some time off.
But not for long.
“I’m just going to reassess things,” she said. “Obviously, I still have a passion for issues impacting women and children in South Carolina and, perhaps, there will be a place for my voice of advocacy on their behalf.”
While saying she will “always be involved in the community,” Brady added she is retiring from politics.
“Not after the discourse of this election,” she said of the prospects of seeking another elected office. “Quite frankly, it was despicable that, you know, a public servant like myself, who had a strong positive record of making a difference, was so viciously attacked.”
Bernstein criticized Republican Brady for serving on an ethics committee that cleared Gov. Nikki Haley of charges that the Lexington Republican used her position as a state representative for personal gain. Bernstein also was critical of Brady for accepting contributions and campaign aid from a group affiliated with House Speaker Bobby Harrell, R-Charleston, expected to soon face ethics charges that he used campaign money for personal purposes.
Brady dismissed those attacks as trumped-up political charges, noting that she called for the state attorney general to investigate Haley and that Harrell’s group has donated to every Republican, not just her.
For now, Brady said she plans to travel some and spend time with family and friends.
“I am most grateful for the extraordinary opportunity I had to serve my neighbors both on the local level and the State House,” she said. “I know that I have an effective voice for advocacy. I just haven’t found out where it will best be used.”