January 14, 2014
First giving honor to God, for without his blessings, grace and mercy, I would not be standing before you today. Second, let me recognize my family. As you saw during the administration of the oath just a moment ago, my wife Kimberlyn and daughter Marleigh are here with me today. I want to thank them for their patience and support as we made our way through the special election cycle this past summer. Marleigh voted 3x– of course with her Daddy, so she has been definitely exposed to the voting process in the first six months of her life. Also, let me recognize my father and mother, Milton and Wilhelmina Kimpson. My brother Milton Gary and his wife Audra Kimpson, both state employees are with us too here today. And my in-laws, Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Davis and Mr. Davis’ mother, Thelma Davis who drove all the way from Atlanta, Georgia to be with us on this very special occasion. And finally but not least, let me thank and recognize the people of District 42 for electing me as their State Senator. I realize I have some big shoes to fill, shoes worn by Sen. Robert Ford my predecessor who indeed made significant contributions to this great state. I want the citizens of District 42 to know that when I stand up on this floor, I speak on your behalf, and although it is my voice that is heard, it is your words that give life to my message.
To my colleagues of this august body, it is my distinct honor and privilege to join you in this place to do good work on behalf of the people of South Carolina. I want you to know that I do solemnly swear to take this job and awesome responsibility very seriously.
My first exposure to this body was back in the early eighties when my daddy worked as an executive assistant with then Governor Dick Riley right downstairs. As a little boy my mamma would bring us up here to visit daddy. I would break away from his office and run up and down those stairs out there, and as I would get close to these chambers my Daddy would catch up to me and grab my hand and tell me to “be quiet because the people in there were doing important work.” Little did I know that one day, I would be one of the people in here doing important work.
For those who don’t know me, I grew-up right here in Columbia, SC. And graduated from Columbia High School in 1987. During the summer months I worked for the late Sen. Warren Giese of Richland County who was the administrator a federally-funded summer feeding program for poor kids. Back then, his office was in room 613, the same office I’m assigned now. I matriculated at Morehouse College, in Atlanta, GA and finished there in 1991. My first job was in Anderson, SC as a branch manager of a bank and then I went to Greenville where lent money to many of the upstate’s biggest businesses as a commercial lender. However, although I succeeded in all those jobs, in life you got to find your calling, so I answered my calling by going on the law school right down the street and graduated from the University of SC School of Law in 1999. And then I had the distinct honor of clerking for the late Judge Matthew Perry, national civil rights icon and the first African-American judge appointed the bench in SC. Judge Perry who taught me much of what I know today about the law. After working for Judge Perry, I took a job with then Ness Motley Loadholdt Richardson and Poole and started in the Barnwell office and now I’m a partner with Motley Rice in the firm’s Charleston office, where I represent state, city and county pension funds all across this country to help them re-coup monetary losses due to corporate fraud. So you can see, I’ve had variety of experiences in a variety of places in this State and I bring all that with me to this office.
During the election, I pledged to the people of District 42 that I would come up here to work hard for them everyday. That I would not cower in the face of adversity but stand resolute to make sure that every child could get a good public education, breathe clean air and water and that every citizen in this state would have the opportunity to live American dream. For me this is about more than filing bills for political gamesmanship and randomly assigning big numbers to budgets to show that you care, this is about conviction from the heart. There’s a hymn that we sang growing up on the church choir, “May the work that I’ve done, speak for me”. I’m looking forward to working with each and every one of you, Republican and Democrat so the work that we do, speaks volumes for the State of South Carolina. Thank you and may God bless this state.