SC politicians remember the Rev. McKinley Washington Jr.

Published: Jul. 24, 2022 at 10:01 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 25, 2022 at 12:04 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - South Carolina political leaders are expressing their condolences Sunday night after learning of the death of former state lawmaker and pastor McKinley Washington Jr.

Washington Jr. served as a state senator for District 45, which includes Allendale, Beaufort, Charleston, Colleton, Hampton, and Jasper Counties from 1991-1999. Before that, he served House District 116, Charleston County, from 1975-1990.

“Saddened to hear about the passing of Senator McKinley Washington,” South Carolina Democratic gubernatorial candidate Joe Cunningham tweeted. “A legend of the Sea Islands and a pioneer in so many ways. I had the pleasure of spending time with he and Beulah just a few weeks ago. We are all better off because of his service and leadership to our state.”

State Sen. Marlon Kimson (D-Charleston) called Washington “a living sermon.”

“I’d rather see as a sermon than to hear one any day,” he posted on Twitter. “The Rev. McKinley Washington was a living sermon. He walked with us and showed us the way. While this lion of the Senate is known for his booming voice, he also listened and mentored. SC is far better off because he lived.”

In a 2012 resolution at the statehouse, Washington Jr. was honored after retiring as the pastor of Edisto Presbyterian Church on Edisto Island. He served the church for 50 years.

“So sorry to hear about former Senator McKinley Washington’s transition,” Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter (D-Orangeburg) tweeted. “A true public servant. My deepest sympathies to the family.”

“Today, I celebrate the life and legacy of McKinley Washington. We met as young men active in Charleston County Democratic Party politics. Our wives became friends and our families remained close,” U.S. Congressman Jim Clyburn said in a statement. “McKinley was a fierce advocate for the Sea Islands of South Carolina and he spent his life fighting for equity and a better quality of life for the communities he represented. He was a man of great faith, but he followed the admonition that ‘faith without works is dead.’ As a result, he left his community and his state a better place. I will miss McKinley’s resonate voice that conveyed the trust and power that he earned during his life of service. May he rest in power. My deepest sympathies are with his family at this time.”

“McKinley Washington was the finest kind of public servant – a bold and gifted leader who combined unflinching moral purpose with a generosity of spirit that brought people together and opened the path to progress and reconciliation,” Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg said on Facebook. “He was also, to many of us, a wise mentor and a true friend. Sandy and I miss him already.”

Washington, who lived in Ravenel, served as a chairman of the South Carolina Legislative Black Caucus and as vice chair of the Charleston County Legislative Delegations. While in office, he served on numerous committees including the House Ways and Means, the Joint Committee on Tourism and Trade, the Medical Affairs, Finance, Education and Rules Committees.

He was the founder of the Edisto Branch of the NAACP and the St. Paul Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, according to his biography at the state government website.

“He was a great Senator and at one time a well-known humble Pastor of Edisto Presbyterian church, but most of all he was a good friend and someone I could go to for political advice, this is a great lost for all of South Carolina,” Rep. Wendell Gilliard, (D-Charleston) said.

Rev. McKinley Washington Jr. pictured with Rep. Wendell Gilliard
Rev. McKinley Washington Jr. pictured with Rep. Wendell Gilliard(Wendell Gilliard)

He and his wife, Beulah, had two children, Katrina and Michael.

Copyright 2022 WCSC. All rights reserved.