“He is so much more”: Bill Cotty, Distinguished Outgoing Representative

The Blogland has gotten to know Bill Cotty quite well over the last couple of years. We first met him back in 2002, when he was campaigning for former Representative David Owens, and in the fall of 2006, he helped introduce us to the growing threats presented by SCRG when we fact-checked a number of misleading attacks and questionable campaign tactics. After that, he did an Inside Interview with us, and since then, we’ve come to think the world of this guy, and we’re going to miss him now that he’s decided to retire.

Representative Cotty played key roles as a negotiator and deal-maker in the 1995 welfare reform legislation, the 2000 Confederate flag compromise and the 2006 property tax reform. One of his last major efforts in the General Assembly was helping lead the successful effort in January to seat Ninth Circuit Judge Kristi Harrington, whose candidacy was endorsed by the Blogland.

Representative Cotty didn't just endear himself to the Blogland - he also made a lot of strong impressions among his fellow legislators. In fact, we received far more responses than we could fit into this story.

One especially-insightful perspective was provided to us by freshman Representative Shannon Erickson noted his sometimes-humble approach to legislative service, when she pointed out to us:

He’ll tell you he’s just a dirt lawyer, but he is so much more. He has been a great teacher for those of us who are just learning how to be legislators.

State Treasurer Converse Chellis was Cotty’s seatmate when they served together in the House. Chellis was:

Always impressed with his constituent service and work ethic. You would find that Bill was very respected on the House floor for his knowledge of the issues, his willingness to work with people who opposed his legislation to make sure they understood what he was trying to accomplish, as well as his sense of fairness.

Nathan Ballentine, a fellow Republican House member from Richland County, had this to say about Bill:

Bill and I are in the minority on our local delgation. In fact, we're in the minority in the House in the sense that we just say what we feel and let the chips fall where they may. You always knew where Bill stood. He didn't sugarcoat it. Didn't care about personalities and personal feelings. He took positions on issues based on the facts, his opinions, and listenting to his constituents.

Bill's living proof about the old "sticks and stones" phrase. He's had a lot of people try to label him but I simply label him as this: very knowledgeable, straight-shooter, passionate.

Carl Gullick, a veteran York County politico about to start his second term in the House, praised Cotty, calling him:

A rare statesman in a place full of politicians. He doesn't follow opinion polls or take orders. He does what he believes is the right thing for his district, and has worked to make a real difference in the House.
We know Cotty is winding down his law practice with an eye towards professional retirement, as well as from the General Assembly. He’s got plans to enjoy more time with his wife and their family, including grandchildren. We wish them all well in the years to come and thank Bill for a job well done. His leadership has set a standard which we hope others will aspire to in the future.

For those of you who haven't seen it before, we'd like to share this clip of his appearance on Comedy Central's Daily Show with John Stewart:

6 Response to "“He is so much more”: Bill Cotty, Distinguished Outgoing Representative"

  1. Kristi 18/7/08 00:16
    I will always remember our first meeting at your office. You put the fear of God into me, but you were always there with a kind word or smile. Thanks to you for YOUR kind words, support, and encouragement! You are a special person, and I thank you! You have done a tremendous job in the General Assembly...you will be missed. Your service to South Carolina is much appreciated.
  2. Anonymous 18/7/08 16:53
    Good luck to you Bill! Congratulations on retirement, it is much deserved. Enjoy this time with your family and your friends. Thank you for all of your efforts!
  3. Charlotte Douglas Airport mg 18/7/08 19:23
    Of course I like Cotty. Now Chellis is another story. I really thought he would be better at his Treasurer job than what he has showed me.
  4. tammy 18/7/08 23:19
    That Com. Central piece is the absolute best. I had never seen that. Bill held his own...which is not always easy to do on that show. Best of luck to you Bill. Thanks for your service to our state.
  5. Michael Rodgers 29/7/08 23:15
    Dear Earl Capps,
    On the blog I write, I have praised Bill Cotty. Thank you Earl Capps for this post about Bill Cotty. And thank you Bill Cotty for your service and dedication.
    Michael Rodgers
    Columbia, SC
  6. Anonymous 3/8/08 00:22
    A lot of people say Bill Cotty is a first-class SOB. Based on what I've seen of him, I will agree.

    That SOB is a first-class legislator and I am proud to have him as my voice in the state house. We're losing a unique kind of guy when he leaves.

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