Opinion

April 4, 2014

Was there a third powerful woman in SC government? (Nah.)

I knew there would be objections when I decided to identify Gov. Nikki Haley and Chief Justice Jean Toal as the only powerful women we’ve ever had in S.C. government. I did it anyway because I knew I was right.

I knew there would be objections when I decided to identify Gov. Nikki Haley and Chief Justice Jean Toal as the only powerful women we’ve ever had in S.C. government. I did it anyway because I knew I was right.

But in the interest of sharing the other perspective, I’m … sharing the other perspective:

Dear Cindi:

As always, I very much enjoyed your column, but I think you err in saying we have only had two powerful women in our history.

Lt. Gov. Nancy Stevenson should be added to your short list. She was a particularly active L.Gov. and was considered at one time a potential future governor.

I also suggest that former congresswoman Liz Patterson and current House member Gilda Cobb Hunter are also worthy of consideration.

Herbert J. Hartsook, Director

South Carolina Political Collections

Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library

The University of South Carolina

To which I responded:

Hi Mr Hartsook

Thanks so much for your note, but we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

I knew some people would take issue with my leaving out Ms. Stevenson and Ms. Patterson, but I do not consider either to have been powerful. I would not classify ANY lieutenant governor as powerful -- not even my friend Glenn McConnell, who probably can make the best claim to it of anyone. A congresswoman is not part of state government, and in any event I can’t think of any U.S. House members from South Carolina, male or female, who could be called powerful. (Check that: It seems that there was one, whose name escapes me at the moment.) And Gilda has indeed managed to make herself quite influential -- for a Democratic member of the S.C. House. But that does not make her powerful.

Cindi

Mr. Hartsook wrote back to thank me for a well-argued point and to agree that we would agree to disagree.

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