He was elected at the age of 21 to the South Carolina House of Representatives (1979-1992) and Governor of South Carolina (1995-1999), as one of the youngest in the State’s history. During his term, he led delegations on economic development and trade missions to countries throughout Asia, Europe and Africa, tripling foreign investment and creating jobs. He received a Profile in Courage Award in 2003 from the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation.
A 1999 Fellow of the Institute of Politics at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and Partner in the law firm, Beasley, Ervin and Warr, he served as Senior Adviser to companies such as Merrill Lynch and General Motors. Since leaving office, he has travelled to more than seventy-five countries and war-stricken regions such as Kosovo, Darfur, Sri Lanka, Guatemala, South Sudan and the Middle East leading peace-building missions and development efforts through working with foreign leaders. He is also involved in numerous civic and charitable projects, including humanitarian efforts in Asia, Africa, North and South America, Europe and the Middle East.
Born in 1957, he attended Clemson University and holds a J.D from the University of South Carolina and a BA Law Degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law.