Politics & Government

Across party lines, SC lawmakers and Aiken leaders mourn death of Rep. Ronnie Young

S.C. Rep. Ronnie Young, R-Aiken County, died Sunday.
S.C. Rep. Ronnie Young, R-Aiken County, died Sunday.

S.C. lawmakers and Aiken County leaders Friday mourned the death of their colleague and friend, state Rep. Ronnie Young, who was remembered as a “selfless” public servant who was, among other things, instrumental in his community’s economic development efforts.

On a lighter note, Young was described as an avid baker, known to bake sugary snacks for colleagues despite being a diabetic himself.

At 71, Young, a Republican who represented District 84 in the state House, died early Sunday after battling illnesses.

Elected to the State House in a 2017 special election, Young was more well-known across Aiken County, where he served for more than 20 years as the county’s council chairman, becoming the longest-serving chairman in the county’s history. He was remembered by colleagues as instrumental in bringing industry and jobs to Aiken County, which included Bridgestone tire plants.

Young was 69 when he was elected to the State House, an age that S.C. House Speaker Jay Lucas, R-Darlington, said Friday did not deter Young from getting involved in the Columbia political fray.

“It’s never too late to make things right,” Lucas said in his eulogy Friday, recalling Young’s past remarks about his age. “I always thought that Ronnie felt for some time he probably should have come and run earlier. But thank God he came and ran when he did.”

Lucas said Young brought with him to Columbia “a set of skills, experience, knowledge, wisdom and a work ethic unrivaled” by many.

“Many people run for the House and the Senate to build a resume. I can tell you Ronnie Young came to Columbia with that resume.”

Friday, Gov. Henry McMaster ordered the flags atop the S.C. capitol be lowered to half-staff to memorialize Young’s “extraordinary legacy and service to the State of South Carolina.”

Before he died, Young was issued South Carolina’s highest civilian honor, the Order of the Palmetto.

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Maayan Schechter (My-yahn Schek-ter) covers the S.C. State House and politics for The State. She grew up in Atlanta, Ga. and graduated from the University of North Carolina-Asheville. She has previously worked at the Aiken Standard and the Greenville News.