State senator John Scott dies at the age of 69

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Published: Aug. 13, 2023 at 2:27 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - South Carolina Senator John L. Scott, Jr., D-Richland, has died at the age of 69.

The South Carolina Senate Democratic Caucus sent a press release Sunday afternoon confirming the news of Scott’s passing.

“Senator Scott’s legacy will forever be etched in the history of South Carolina,” said Senator Brad Hutto, Minority Caucus Leader for the South Carolina Senate Democratic Caucus. “His tireless work ethic, his willingness to bridge divides, and his unyielding commitment to the principles of justice and equality have set an example for us all.”

South Carolina Senate President Thomas Alexader shared a statement from the family of the late senator.

“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved husband, father, son, and brother, Senator John L Scott. Jr., who passed away peaceably while surrounded by family and close friends. We ask the community to keep his family in prayer.”

Family of Senator John Scott

In the statement, Alexander added:

“The Senator from Richland was a friend, colleague, and true public servant. His work and dedication to his constituents and the citizens of South Carolina will be greatly missed. Please join me in praying for the family of Senator John Scott.”

According to officials, Scott began his tenure in the Senate in 2009. Prior to his service in the Senate, Scott spent 18 years of service in the House of Representatives.

A longtime friend of Senator Scott and state representative Leon Howard sat in an interview with WIS Sunday afternoon.

“What I think people lost is a man of his word,” he said. “A man of dignity, a man of character, a man if he tells you he’s going to do something, it’s done. You don’t have to second-guess it.”

state representative Leon Howard

Howard added the late senator was truly a “giant” in the community and a senator that looked out for the underdog.

“He stayed out of a circle, and just reached to strangers and gave people an opportunity who would not normally have an opportunity to do great things.”

In an interview with WIS attorney and state representative Todd Rutherford said the following:

“So my mother actually worked with John Scott and Dick Riley’s administration all that many years ago. And John Scott dedicated his life to the people of South Carolina, to his God and to his family. He was in public service for almost my entire life. He was on the Richland County Council. He was in the House and he was in the Senate. And he worked for Dick Riley’s administration. He was actively involved in politics all his life. And there are literally tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of children that owe John Scott a debt of gratitude because he was one of the biggest initial pushers of the South Carolina lottery that you could find. And many would say back then that he was the reason why we have a lottery today. So he has left his imprint on South Carolina. He leaves behind a son, a wife, and many other family members and those of us that served with him for decades that are truly at a loss for words.”

Todd Rutherford

Former South Carolina senator Joel Lourie also spoke with WIS.

“The Scott and Lourie families have been friends for over 50 years, dating back to our late fathers. My heart and prayers go to Joan and the Scott family during this sad time. He always stood strong on the causes he believed in and served his community and state with great honor. “

Joel Lourie

In the press release, the South Carolina Senate Democratic Caucus extended its deepest condolences to Senator Scott’s family, friends, and loved ones.

The office of South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster sent a statement via a press release Sunday.

“Peggy and I extend our prayers and deepest condolences to the family and friends of Senator John Scott. With over 30 years of service in the General Assembly, he has had a profound impact on Richland County and all of South Carolina. He will be deeply missed. May God bless him and his family,” McMaster said.

In the release, it was announced Governor McMaster will order the flags to be lowered in honor of the late senator’s service to the state once funeral arrangements are made and announced.

Funeral arrangements and memorial services have not been announced yet; however, officials asked the public to stay tuned for further updates.

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