By Barney Blakeney
Businessman and former Charleston City Councilman Maurice Washington is tapped to become the next Charleston County Republican Party chairman. The county’s Republicans are expected to make that official February 10 at its next regular monthly meeting. If elected, Washington will become the county’s first African American chair since Reconstruction.
Two years ago the county’s Republican Party historically elected two African Americans – Maurice Washington as First Vice Chair and Nicole Claibourn as Third Vice Chair. The election of two African Americans to the county’s executive committee had not occurred in modern times. Then Chairman Larry Kobrovsky said Claibourn’s and Washington’s elections represented a profound change.
About the prospect of Washington becoming chair Kobrovsky said last week, “This is a big deal in our county and party’s history. It’s a historic and great even for our county and our country. Maurice is a great leader and an eloquent speaker. This is a game changer in that when Maurice becomes chairman it means the decisions and leadership of the Charleston County Republican Party will be weighed and processed through the life experiences of a proud Burke High School graduate and someone who grew up in public housing in downtown Charleston under segregation.”
Washington, a Charleston native, was born, raised and continues to live in the heart of the city. He currently is President and CEO of Trust Management, LLC, a financial services and consulting firm. Washington earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from South Carolina State University and entered the fiscal securities and insurance industry upon graduating; working for over two decades as a comprehensive insurance and financial advisor. He first was publicly elected to Charleston City Council in 1991 and served through 1999.
No stranger to politics, Washington has operated on both sides of the political fence. A former Democratic candidate for the South Carolina Senate, he served on former S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford’s transition team in 2002. It was an experience that made the former South Carolina State University Board of Trustees member and local business consultant realize the power and logic of being affiliated with both political parties, he said.
In his role on Sanford‘s transitional team Washington assisted with the selection of numerous board and commission appointments, to include Governor Cabinet posts. He said Monday as county Republican chair he’ll continue to advocate for diversity among the governing bodies of our community. “As party chair I can impact our local community in a similar way,” he said.
He has the blessings of many in the party. Terrye Seckinger, sister of East Cooper State Sen. Chip Campsen said, “I am very supportive of this move. Maurice is a descent experienced man who is a part of the growing conservative movement. He will enlarge and invigorate our party. I give him my full support!”