For weeks murmurs of a political change in North Charleston have been stirring quietly.
This week North Charleston House Dist. 113 Rep. Seth Whipper hushed them.
The proverbial cat slipped out of the bag several weeks ago when a North Charleston political pundit told this reporter Whipper would be leaving the S.C. House of Representatives to take a position as a county magistrate.
He’s held the seat the past 23 years since first being elected in 1995. He served as a Charleston County magistrate about eight years prior to being elected to the legislature.
Whipper said Monday he won’t be leaving the legislature, but didn’t rule out the possibility in the future. Among Black state legislators, whipper is the Charleston County Legislative Delegation’s longest serving representative. His stellar record of community service is eclipsed only by his humility. Asked if he has political ambitions beyond his service in the House of Representatives he said, “With so much going on, you have to stay involved. When you look at our public school system kids are graduating, but they’re not getting anything from it. But even with the challenges they face, there’s still a lot of opportunities. There are a lot of success stories out there.”
Part of his success has been his ability to get people into decision-making positions so they can assist others, Whipper said. “Since I’ve been in the legislature I’ve been in the minority. I’ve been able to ring a few bells, but the biggest thing I’ve been able to do was help put people in position who could put their buckets down where they were and make a difference. I’ve done as much as I could.”
I asked Whipper if he’s looked for a successor when the time does come for time to step down. “I’ve been looking for someone since my third term. You have to think like that,” said the 12-term veteran legislator. “It’s hard trying to fill the shoes of people like (the late senator) Herb Fielding or my mom (former Rep. Lucille whipper). If we’re fortunate we’ll have an orderly transition. I’d say there are those who are capable of stepping up and offering their service.”
For right now, Whipper says he just appreciate the support and confidence his constituents have given him. “But if I get the right break, who knows?”