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U.S. Congressman Joe Wilson, BA, JD, MSM, LM


© PHOTOGRAPH of New Westminster College - U.S. Congressman Joe Wilson - Senior Fellow of New Westminster College - http://newwestminstercollege.ca


The Honorable Joe Wilson is the Representative for the Second District of South Carolina in the United States House of Representatives of the United States Congress. He is a Senior Fellow of New Westminster College and earned B.A. from Washington and Lee University and a J.D. from the University of South Carolina.

Congressman Wilson has a distinguished record of ethical leadership. Joe Wilson was elected to the United States House of Representatives on behalf of the people of the Second District of South Carolina on December 18, 2001. The very next day on the 19th, he was sworn in during a ceremony at the Capitol. Since then, Congressman Wilson has been appointed to the House Armed Services Committee, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, and the House Foreign Relations Committee.

Previously, Congressman Wilson served in the South Carolina State Senate from Lexington County, South Carolina for seventeen years with a perfect attendance record. In 2001, Joe was elected Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee and also served on Judiciary, Education, General, Agriculture, Invitations Committees, Joint Committee on Aging, and was Vice-Chairman of the Committee to Screen Candidates for College and University Boards of Trustees. He has been a member of the Columbia College Board of Visitors and Coker College Board of Trustees.

He was a founding partner of the West Columbia law firm of Kirkland, Wilson, Moore, Taylor and Thomas, where he practiced for over 25 years. Joe previously served on the staff of Senator Strom Thurmond and Congressman Floyd Spence, was a Student Assistant to the United States Attorney for the District of South Carolina, and served as Deputy General Counsel for the United States Department of Energy with Secretary Jim Edwards. Joe is also a former Judge for the Town of Springdale, Vice-Chairman of the County Registration and Elections Commission, and member of the State Development Board.

Congressman Wilson is a strong supporter of the military. A member of the United States Army Reserves from 1972-1975, he went on to serve in the South Carolina Army National Guard. After 31 years of service, Joe retired in 2003 as a Colonel serving as Staff Judge Advocate assigned to the 218th Mechanized Infantry Brigade. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Command General Staff College.

In addition to his duties as United States Congressman, Joe is very active in many community and civic organizations. He has been a member and former President or Chairman of the Cayce-West Columbia Rotary Club, Sheriff’s Department Law Enforcement Advisory Council, Reserve Officers Association, Lexington County Historical Society, County Community and Resource Development Committee, American Heart Association, Mid-Carolina Mental Health Association, and NationsBank Lexington Advisory Board. He has been a board member of the Cayce-West Columbia Jaycees, Kidney Foundation, South Carolina Lung Association, Alston-Wilkes Society, and Cayce-West Columbia Chamber of Commerce.

Congressman Wilson also has been a member of the Columbia World Affairs Council, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Sinclair Lodge 154, Jamil Temple, Woodmen of the World, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Military Order of the World Wars, Springdale Elementary, Falmer Middle and Airport High School PTAs, American Legislative Exchange Council, Lexington Chamber of Commerce, Greater Irmo Chamber of Commerce, Chapin Chamber of Commerce, West Metro Chamber of Commerce, Navy League, Amvets, Association of the U.S. Army, National Guard Association, Air Force Association, Fourteenth Air Force Association, the Yorktown Association, South Carolina Homebuilders Association, American Legion Guignard Post, 40 and 8, Lexington and Dutch Fork Republican Women’s Clubs (Associate), and Executive Council of Indian Waters Council Boy Scouts of America.

Congressman Wilson’s history in Republican politics began as a Teenage Republican at the High School of Charleston in the 1962 Workman for Senate campaign. His first visit to Washington was on a bus trip to attend the National Draft Goldwater Rally on July 4, 1963. Since then he has served as the first elected Youth Vice-Chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party, Campaign Manager for Congressman Floyd Spence in 1974, 1978, 1980, 1982, and 1998, Second District Chairman of Citizens for Reagan 1976, District Chairman for Governor Carroll Campbell 1986, Bush for President Second District Chairman 1988 and 1992, Strom Thurmond for Senate Second District Chairman 1990 and State Vice-Chairman 1996, George W. Bush for President Second District chairman 2000, and co-founded the First Tuesday Republican Club of Richland and Lexington.

Congressman Wilson’s public service also has an active international interest. Since high school, Joe has been an activist with anti-communist causes beginning with Charleston Youth Alert and the Goldwater and Reagan campaigns. In 1990, RNC Chairman Lee Atwater appointed him to a United States delegation to observe the first democratic elections for the Bulgarian National Assembly for the International Republican Institute. He has lectured on the democratic process in Bulgaria (1990), Slovakia (1994), and Russian Siberia (1995). He joined a South Carolina legislative delegation to the Republic of China (Taiwan) in 1996. The next year, Joe was a member of the Columbia World Affairs Council Sister Cities Delegation to Chelyabinsk, Russia, Cluj-Napoca, Romania, and Plovdiv, Bulgaria. He is a frequent host to many international delegations that visit South Carolina, providing tours of the State House, local schools and businesses, and introducing them to everyday life in the United States. His first House Armed Services Delegation trip was to visit government and military leaders in Moscow; Tashkent Uzbekistan; Beijing; and Seoul with a side trip to Panmijon.

Congressman Wilson has been the recipient of a number of honours and awards, including:

  • 2013: Senior Fellow, New Westminster College
  • 1998: Small Business Award, NFIB/South Carolina Guardian
  • 1997: Senator of the Year, South Carolina Troopers Association
  • 1997: Senator of the Year, American Legion
  • 1996: Freedom Award, Gun Owners of South Carolina
  • 1995: Palmetto Leadership Award, South Carolina Policy Council
  • 1995: Public Service Award, Retired Columbia Police Officers
  • 1995: Hammer and Trowel Award, Home Builders Association of South Carolina
  • 1995: Order of the Palmetto, State of South Carolina
  • 1995: Defender of Freedom Award – NRA
  • 1995: Paul Harris Fellow – Rotary Club
  • 1993: Senator of the Year, South Carolina Association of Taxpayers
  • 1993: Legislator of the Year, South Carolina Cable Television Association
  • 1993: Citizenship Award, Woodmen of the World
  • 1993: State House Award, South Carolina Jaycees
  • 1991: Distinguished Public Service Award, Irmo Fire District 
  • 1990: Legislative Award, Common Cause of South Carolina
  • 1990: Legislator of the Year, College Republican Confederation

In Congress, Joe has received the Spirit of Enterprise Award of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Friend of the Taxpayers by the Americans for Tax Reform, and the Jefferson Award by the U.S. Food Retailers Association. His military decorations include the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service medal and the Army Commendation Medal.

As a Senior Fellow of New Westminster College, Congressman Joe Wilson is dedicated to supporting the highest standards of academic excellence and is committed to the advancement of New Westminster College and its Global Network of Fellows.


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