Inside Interview: Rep. Boyd Brown

From lakefront recreation to lush forests and rolling fields, history-laden State House District 41 encompasses a lot of wonderful country in Chester and Fairfield Counties. There are a lot of nice drives through there - River Road along Lake Wateree, US 321 from Chester to Winnsboro, or SC 34 right across the district - that we'd recommend if you've got free time on a weekend.

Winnsboro was one of the state's first inland towns. General Cornwallis' army wintered there, getting their tails handed to them at Cowpens and Kings' Mountain during that time. Then you have Ridgeway, perhaps the prettiest town in the South. If you miss Mayberry, just head up I-77 to that little town and visit their antique stores, tea room, worlds smallest police station and magnificent homes.

The Brown Family has a long history in Fairfield County, originally hailing from that small town of Ridgeway. Boyd Brown started the Brown's public service file in 1936 when he was elected to the SC House, where he went on to serve as Chairman of the Labor and Commerce industry. When he died at an early age, his son, Walter Brown, took his place before becoming Sinking Fund director (now Budget and Control Board) under Governor Hollings. He went on to serve South Carolina in various positions, before becoming "the state's most influential lobbyist" according to The State newspaper at the time of his death in 1998. His two sons became public servants, one serving as Family Court judge, the other is one of South Carolina's longest serving County Councilmen.

Fairfield County's second Boyd Brown is in his first term in the House, representing District 41 in his great-grandfather and grandfather's old seat. He won Creighton Coleman's old seat with 81% of the vote when Coleman moved up to the Senate. We met him recently at the Carolinas AGC event, and he took us up on the opportunity to be the first House Democrat that we've Inside Interviewed:

At the age of 22, you're the youngest member of the House. How well have you fit in with your fellow legislators? How might this be a different experience at your age than for someone older?

Well, my first day on the job, Thad Viers kept eyeballing me. He finally walked over and said "weren't you a page?" (I was for Creighton in 2005 and Senator Short in 2007) For the first couple of weeks, that was a common misconception, but over time it's beginning to improve. I had to pull out my ID to prove I was a member last week, and another member asked me to make some copies. I don't mind any of this... I'm just a Freshman.

As far as differing experiences for me than someone older, I see where I want to change the direction of this state, where some of the older crowd wants to either a)maintain the status quo, or b)they see this as a cap on their career. Personally, I think Bakari and I are in a neat position of representing not only our constituents, but our generation as well.

You campaigned for Tommy Moore for Governor and interned with Congressman John Spratt - how did these experiences help shape your own political plans?

I've always wanted to be a public servant, and it's kind of come naturally. Working for those two individuals were experiences I'll never forget. They both are known coalition builders who reach across party lines, and as I go forward in my career I hope I can model myself after Chairman Spratt and Tommy. As far as shaping my career, seeing parts of this state where government has failed our citizens really helped kick start my political career. I always wanted to go into politics, but after seeing shoeless children at a cold parade in Burnettown while working for Tommy Moore, I realized it was time for some new blood in Columbia. The next year, Senator Short announced her retirement, Creighton told me he was going to run for that vacancy, so I threw my hat in the ring about a year out... and it paid off.

What are some things that are important for you and your district?

Rural infrastructure, public education, the US Supreme Court case versus North Carolina over water rights... However, the most important issue facing my community and this state are jobs. South Carolina has the 3rd highest unemployment rate in the country, heading to 2nd, and we're talking about wait periods for rape victims to have abortions and fusion voting. Are you kidding me?!? I bet 90% of this state can't even tell you what fusion voting is, and the other ten percent is unemployed. So let's keep our eye on the ball and talk about job development and put the tools in place to recruit new industry.

15 Response to "Inside Interview: Rep. Boyd Brown"

  1. Speaker's Mafia 6/3/09 07:36
    The Speaker will deal with this yonng man and with you for this so called interview. It shows disrespect to this thing of ours. This boy could have gotten his cut if he only he had showed the proper respects. This thing of ours is a business.
  2. Anonymous 6/3/09 09:51
    Boyd Brown is a tremendous legislator already. The people of Farfield County should be very proud to call him their representative.
  3. Anonymous 6/3/09 11:51
    Future speaker you say?
  4. dukeofsc 6/3/09 11:57
    I am proud to have Boyd Brown as my representative to the SC House. I have known him and his family my entire life and I know from personal experiences that this is a family dedicated to public service. As John Kennedy once said: "the torch is passed to a new generation" and now this torch is being passed to another generation. I am confident that Boyd will continue to keep that torch lit and will hold it high. As the old saying goes he has some big shoes to fill but the last time I noticed he as some big feet. Boyd is honest and caring but most of all he is dedicated. What he lacks in experience is more than made up for in his hard work ethic and determination. Do not judge him by his youth but judge him by his actions. You will find that this is a young man with sound ideas and principles beyond reproach. He has earned my trust and respect and he will earn yours. Boyd has promising future and I think time will prove that all of SC is fortunate that he has chosen to follow in the steps of his Great Grandfather, his Grandfather, and his Father. I challenge you to follow this young man and watch as he evolves into one of this State's most capable leaders. Good luck Boyd and thank you for choosing a path of public service.

  5. Anonymous 6/3/09 12:48
    This is not a Kingdom
  6. Anonymous 6/3/09 19:03
    Is he single?
  7. Anonymous 6/3/09 19:44
    Don't know this boy but if he is Walter Browns grandson just let him get a couple of terms under his belt and he will be having Speakers for lunch.
  8. Anonymous 6/3/09 21:34
    Seems to be a big government liberal but a nice, hard-working guy nonetheless.
  9. Anonymous 6/3/09 23:40
    I hear he has loose tongue, not a good thing for someone in elected office....think before your twitter, you foolish freshman!
  10. Anonymous 6/3/09 23:57
    A loose tongue??? That's probably honesty slipping out between the lips of a sincere politician.
  11. mg 7/3/09 09:34
    Maybe another John Land or Alex Harvin or Yancy McGill may God have mercy on us all
  12. Anonymous 7/3/09 11:26
    Boyd is one of those rare politicians: you might not like where he stands, but you're going to know where he stands.
    If the Democrats ever take back Columbia, look for this young man to be the reason why. He has a great political mind, and is not afraid to throw punches. If you lie to him, he'll make you bleed. He's told me that character and honesty go a long way with him, and that people who take themselves too seriously drive him crazy.
    As far as Boyd being a liberal, that's laughable at best. I would describe him as a mixture of Fritz Hollings, Al Gore, Strom and Mike Huckabee, and I wish him the best of luck.
  13. Anonymous 7/3/09 11:39
    Facebook profile says he's single. 22 years old?? House member?? I would be too.
  14. Anonymous 7/3/09 19:59
    Please don't put Harvin and McGill in the same category as Land.
  15. Anonymous 17/5/10 10:09
    Boyd Brown has shown Black people within Fairfield County that he is not their Representative. His recent statement that he doesn't "give a @#$% about civil right" is proof that he is not in the House to Represent them. All people within the County should have a real issue with this statement. Boyd Brown is seeking to bring back the "good old days" of white rule over black life and it would seem that he has some help with that in South Carolina. What a sad thing this is for our state.

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