The Buzz

December 20, 2013

BUZZ: House Democrats hire Duane Cooper as new executive director

The Buzz

A blog from The State's political team of Cassie Cope, Jamie Self and Andy Shain. Email tips to

The House Democratic Caucus has hired Duane Cooper to be its new executive director.

The 33-year-old Hemingway native is a former lobbyist for the S.C. School Boards Association. He will be taking over for Michael Thompson, who is leaving after four years as director to pursue business opportunities. Cooper declined to comment on his new job.

Thompson, who has a consulting firm, said he's not leaving politics entirely, but it will not be his focus.

Cooper is the second big change in the House Democratic Caucus this year. In January, caucus members elected Rep. Todd Rutherford, D-Richland, as the new chairman, replacing former Rep. Harry Ott, D-Calhoun, who had been the chairman for eight years.

Ott resigned in June to become state director of the Federal Farm Service Agency. Ott's son, Russell, was elected to replace him.

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