SC Sen. John Wesley Matthews, Jr.
“The senior Senator from Orangeburg County has led the fight for economic development, job creation and education in the State of South Carolina, particularly in the counties of District 39…”
A Senate Resolution was unanimously adopted in 2004 to authorize the commissioning of a portrait of the Honorable John Wesley Matthews, Jr., to be placed in the South Carolina Senate Chamber to honor a distinguished statesman deserving of proper recognition by the State of South Carolina. The South Carolina native and alumnus of South Carolina State College, is proud of his service to the state, and rightfully so.
Before he served as a member of the House of Representatives from 1975 through 1984, and as a State Senator since 1985, Sen. Matthews previously served as teacher and administrator in the public school system and as a small business owner. This background would prepare him for his distinguished and dedicated public service, as he served on House and Senate committees to improve education and the economic welfare of every citizen of South Carolina. He has led the fight for economic development, job creation and education in the State of South Carolina, and particularly in the counties of District 39, Bamberg, Colleton, Dorchester, Hampton and Orangeburg. He serves on the Senate Education, Finance, Banking and Insurance, Rules, Ethics and Invitations Committees.
Sen. Matthews has earned the respect of his colleagues in both the House and Senate. He serves as Chairman of the Orangeburg County Legislative Delegation, a member of the Southern Regional Education Board, the Governor’s Middle Grades Task Force, and a former Chairman of the South Carolina Legislative Black Caucus. In 2004 Orangeburg County Council designated the 500 or more acre site located at the South East Quadrant of U.S. 301-176 Highway in Orangeburg County as the John W. Matthews Industrial Park.
His service has garnered recognition and numerous awards, including the Distinguished Alumni Award, South Carolina State University, the Orangeburg County Democrat of the Year, Minority Business Advocate of the Year, U.S. Small Business Administration, induction in the South Carolina Black Hall of Fame, South Carolina Primary Health Care Legislator of the Year, an Honorary Doctorate from the College of Charleston, and an Honorary Doctorate from South Carolina State University.
He has served as a member of the South Carolina Education Association, Orangeburg County Education Association, Clemson University Board of Visitors, Medical University of South Carolina Board of Visitors, Winthrop University Board of Visitors, Human Affairs Commission, Voorhees College Board of Trustees, South Carolina State University Board of Trustees, Claflin University Capital Campaign Steering Committee, and the Education Oversight Committee. Sen. Matthews received both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from South Carolina State. He is married to the former Geraldine Hillard of Santee, South Carolina, and they are the proud parents of five children.