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Columbia Business Monthly

The Business Narrative: Inauguration Day

Jan 12, 2023 03:53PM ● By David Dykes

Governor, Lieutenant Governor Sworn in for New Terms

Photo by David Dykes


Gov. Henry McMaster was sworn in for his final term as governor and Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette for her second term as lieutenant governor on Wednesday.

The full day of activities began with a prayer service at First Presbyterian Church in Columbia prior to the ceremony at the Statehouse.

In his inauguration speech, McMaster praised South Carolina’s “booming economy,” and he said the state’s success rests on three pillars: ”economic strength, education, and our natural environment.”

“South Carolina's booming economy has once again created a record budget surplus,” McMaster said.

“So, it should come as no surprise that 2022 was the most successful year for economic development in our state's history. In fact, we broke the record for the largest economic development project announcement – not once, but twice – in the same year. State government is in superior fiscal shape, we have the largest rainy day reserve fund balance and lowest amount of debt than at any other time in recent memory.”

He also praised the people of South Carolina: “The state of South Carolina is richly blessed with a hardworking and talented people. I have faith in our people, and I have faith in those whom they have elected to represent them in this State House.”

McMaster was appointed governor in January 2017 to serve out the term of Nikki Haley, who had been appointed United States ambassador to the United Nations. He was elected to his first full term in 2018.

Thomas Alexander, Roland Gardner Receive Riley Institute Awards

By David Dykes

South Carolina Senate President Thomas Alexander (R-Oconee/Pickens) received the 2023 Riley-Wilkins OneSouthCarolina Legislative Leadership Award, and community health leader Roland Gardner of Beaufort received the 2023 Riley-Wilkins OneSouthCarolina Civic Leadership Award.

The awards recognize outstanding, principled leadership in South Carolina and were given at the Riley-Wilkins OneSouthCarolina Legislative and Civic Leadership Awards dinner Jan. 10 in Columbia.

Dick Riley, former United States secretary of education and former two-term governor of South Carolina, and David Wilkins, former United States ambassador to Canada and former speaker of the South Carolina House, presented the awards. Organizers said the awards’ names reflect their statesmanship and longtime bipartisan efforts.

“In a time when bipartisanship feels elusive, it’s more important than ever for the good of our state and its residents that we put aside differences to get things done and to honor those leading the way,” said Dr. Don Gordon, executive director of the Riley Institute.

“The awards celebration embodies the cooperative spirit that has defined the leadership styles of Dick Riley, a Democrat, and David Wilkins, a Republican.”

Alexander has served at the Statehouse since 1987, first as a representative and then as a senator, and in 2021 was elected Senate president with bipartisan support. Alexander has led efforts and worked across the aisle on workforce development, equitable distribution of pandemic relief funds, and the vital expansion of broadband internet into rural and underserved areas in South Carolina. 

Gardner, recipient of the civic leadership award, improved the lives of residents of the Lowcountry and South Carolina by increasing access to quality healthcare during his 41 years as CEO of Beaufort-Jasper-Hampton Comprehensive Health Services (BJHCHS) until his retirement in May 2022. 

Under Gardner’s leadership, BJHCHS grew from a start-up nonprofit into a multi-million-dollar corporation that spans three counties and serves over 17,000 patients.

The institute advances social and economic progress in South Carolina and beyond by building leadership for a diverse society, hosting expert speakers to broaden perspectives on critical issues, supporting public education, and creating knowledge through community solutions-focused research.


Learn more at

Palmetto Business Barometer Conducting Survey

The Palmetto Business Barometer, a collaboration between the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce and the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce, is conducting a survey of business owners and managers.

According to the Palmetto Business Barometer, “It’s important to know what conditions employers are facing, so employers, other businesses, and the public are well-informed about our state’s economy and workforce.” 

Click here to participate in the survey.

Topgolf to Open North Charleston Location

Modern golf entertainment company Topgolf announced that it will open its 87th global venue on Jan. 20. 

The new venue, located at 5000 Topgolf Way in North Charleston, will be the company’s third in South Carolina, alongside Greenville and Myrtle Beach.

“Charleston is an ideal community for Topgolf – it has a fun, vibrant culture with people seeking new and exciting experiences,” said Topgolf Chief Operating Officer Gen Gray.

“We've been eager to bring our style of play to Charleston and are excited to offer a place where people can have fun and not take themselves too seriously.”

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