SC House Member Dan Cooper to Receive Annual David Wilkins Leadership Award

October 28, 2009

Award presented by the Riley Institute at Furman University

GREENVILLE, SC – October 28, 2009 – Dan Cooper, a member of the South Carolina State House of Representatives from District 10 in Anderson County, has been named the winner of the fifth annual David Wilkins Award for Excellence in Legislative Leadership.

The award, sponsored by the Riley Institute at Furman University, will be presented to Cooper at the annual Wilkins Award dinner at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center on Monday, Jan. 11.

Broadcast journalist Judy Woodruff, who has covered politics and other news for more than three decades at CNN, NBC and PBS and currently is senior correspondent for “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer,” will be the keynote speaker.

The event, held in conjunction with the opening of the legislative session, will feature a reception at 6 p.m. followed by the dinner and award presentation beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets are $125 each with table sponsorships available. To purchase tickets, call 864-235-8330.

  The Wilkins Award for Excellence in Legislative Leadership recognizes a state legislator who “embodies the highest principles of leadership based on integrity, compassion, vision, civility and courage.” State Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter of Orangeburg County received the 2009 award.  Other recipients have been John Drummond, Bobby Harrell and Hugh K. Leatherman.
Cooper, the first Republican elected to the S.C. Statehouse from Anderson County, has been in the legislature since 1990. He was elected chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee in 2005. In that role, he manages the House version of the state budget and is the only member from the Upstate on the State Budget and Control Board.

He also keeps on eye on permanent state improvement projects through his membership on the Joint Bond Review Committee and previously served on the special Joint Tax Study Committee, reviewing the state’s tax laws for simplicity and fairness.

A resident of Piedmont, Cooper is the son of the late Milford J. “Dolly” and Melba B. Cooper and succeeded his father in the legislature.

A graduate of Wren High School and Clemson University, he currently is vice president of Capstone Insurance Services, LLC, in Greenville.  He is married to Melissa “Missy” Shellenbarger Cooper, and they have two children.

The Riley Institute at Furman is named for Furman graduate and former South Carolina governor and U.S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley. It offers a broad array of programs designed to engage students and citizens across South Carolina in the various arenas of politics, public policy and public leadership.

The institute created the David H. Wilkins Legislative Leadership Program in 2006 in honor of the respected South Carolina politician, who served as Speaker of the South Carolina House of Representatives and U.S. ambassador to Canada.

For more information, contact Alexis Sprogis at the Riley Institute at 864-294-3546 or go online to for the institute’s website.