By Barney Blakeney
Two long serving Charleston County state legislators have announced they will retire upon completion of the current legislative session. Hollywood Rep. Robert Brown and North Charleston Rep. David Mack say they will not seek re-election in November. At the end of the session Brown will have served House Dist. 116 20 years. Mack will have served House Dist. 109 24 years. They will remain in office until January when newly elected representatives to the districts are installed.
Brown first was elected to House Dist. 116 in 2000. He is the longest serving representative to that district since the early 1700s. He says it’s now time for him to spend more time with family. An entrepreneur, brown said he will continue to serve the district by building more affordable housing. During his tenure he has worked to provide a better quality of life for his rural constituents. As new development encroaches, the rural boundaries of the county’s southern sea islands and the need for affordable housing will become more crucial, Brown said.
“There’s not a lot of money in affordable housing, but somebody’s got to do it. I’m in a position to do it,” he said. Development has peeked over the horizon during the course of his two decades in office, Brown said. Some of it has brought better schools, recreation and jobs contributing to a higher quality of life for his constituents. He made it a point to fought adverse development, he said. Development will, increase in the future, he predicts. “This is the last place where land is available. In 10 or 15 years we’ll be a suburb of West Ashley.”
His efforts in the legislature has resulted in resources such as a library and swimming pool in Hollywood and community center and book mobile in Colleton County. His tenure has been a learning experience, Brown said. He’ll now use that experience in the private sector. “This is not an ending. I think it’s a beginning,” he said.
Mack, first elected to the House in 1997 and who represents the western edges of North Charleston from the Dorchester Road corridor to the Ashley River north to Dorchester County said he will continue his service to the community through the Democratic Party and his platform as a radio talk show host.
Mack is a member of Fleming Fellows, the National Energy Commission for African American Legislators, the S.C. Legislative Black Caucus, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Operation PUSH and the S.C. Leadership Conference (SCLC). His board affiliations include: Co-Chair for the Progressive Network, Board of Directors of COBRA, Medical University of South Carolina Hollings Cancer Center, Project Sugar, Urban League, African American Jewish Coalition, Diabetes Initiative and South Carolina Coalition for Black Voter Participation.
Starting a journey of involvement 40 years ago as a community organizer with the Committee on Better Racial Assurance (COBRA) Human Service Agency, Mack devoted much of his time and energy to the Sickle Cell Program. He is an executive with Legal Shield and has worked as a radio talk show host for over 35 years, beginning at the legendary WPAL, hosting such programs as “Open Rap”, “Drive-time Dialogue” and “P.M. Urban Edition.” He presently hosts “The David Mack Show”. He also is the former host of a local cable television show called “The Panel”. In those capacities Mack said he will continue to advocate for quality education, well-paying jobs, health care, decent housing and for people to be treated with dignity and respect.