The son-in-law of South Carolina’s most powerful state senator will no longer sit on the state commission that oversees the S.C. Department of Transportation.
John Hardee, son-in-law of Senate President Pro Tempore Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence, sat on the 2nd District seat on the Department of Transportation’s commission. Hardee’s four-year commission term expired last week.
S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster Wednesday recommended former Lexington lawmaker John Burris, president and owner of the real-estate and construction Burris Corp. firm, for the 2nd District seat. The 2nd District includes residents of Aiken, Barnwell, Lexington, Orangeburg and Richland counties.
Hardee’s seat on the Transportation Department’s commission has rankled critics, who note the powerful position of his father-in-law, who also chairs the Senate’s budget-writing Finance Committee.
Hardee said Thursday he could not be re-nominated to his seat because he had exceeded the 12 years a member can by law sit on the commission.
“The governor did the right thing,” Hardee said, adding he actually served longer than 13 years, permission, he said, granted by an Attorney General’s opinion.
“I was term limited out, and I respect the law,” he said.
Hardee added he has enjoyed serving the 2nd District
McMaster re-nominated Spartanburg resident Woodrow Williard Jr. for his 4th District seat on commission. Williard first was appointed to that seat in 2014.
McMaster said his nominees will provide conservative leadership and ensure taxpayer money is not wasted but used to repair the state’s crumbling roads and bridges.
"They are successful private business owners with excellent records of public service, and I am confident they are well suited to lead the agency and contribute to our state’s economic success and prosperity,” he said in a statement.
McMaster’s nominations now go to the state Senate for confirmation by the legislative delegations from the affected congressional districts.
Leatherman’s office said he was unavailable to comment.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect comments from Hardee.