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Ott keeps leadership role; lawmaker elected assistant minority leader of S.C. House

Ott keeps leadership role; lawmaker elected assistant minority leader of S.C. House


Rep. Russell Ott of St. Matthews will return to his position as assistant leader of the Democrats in the South Carolina House.

Ott’s colleagues re-elected the House District 93 representative to the position of assistant leader of the caucus for the 2021-2022 session.

“I think this is my sixth year serving as assistant minority leader, so I just appreciate the opportunity to be able to help craft our agenda and to be able to craft our message,” Ott said.

House Democrats elected Rep. Todd Rutherford of Richland County as minority leader. Others elected to leadership positions in the caucus include:

• Deputy Leader Chandra Dillard of Greenville County

• Treasurer Robert Kirby of Florence County

• Secretary Beth Bernstein of Richland County

• Parliamentarian Marvin Pendarvis of Charleston County

• Chaplin Michael Rivers of Beaufort County

“I’m just appreciative that my colleagues trust me enough and put enough faith in me to serve in this particular position. And you know, the whole point of it, obviously, is to try to better represent my constituents in House District 93, make sure they have a voice through me. At the end of the day our goal is to try to make improvements for the state of South Carolina and pass good legislation and stop bad legislation,” Ott said.

Ott’s father, the former Rep. Harry Ott, was minority leader when he served in the House.

Next year’s legislative session will begin soon, and Ott said the caucus will meet to discuss its focus for the next year.

“We’ll go on our caucus retreat in a few weeks to iron all of that out. But, I can tell you that I think there’ll be some sentencing reform legislation, some hate crime legislation that I know is on the minds of a lot of folks and COVID-19 and trying to make sure that we are as prepared as possible to be able to roll out the vaccine when that is ready,” Ott said. Also, “trying to make sure we get as much relief and support to our small business owners as we possibly can.”

“At the end of the day, that is what it means to be a Democrat —to look out for the working families, to make sure they have everything they need, and our support as much as possible,” Ott said.

Contact the writer: or 803-596-6530


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Staff Writer

Bradley Harris is a Government and Sports Reporter. The Irmo, SC native is a 2018 graduate of Claflin University and recipient of the 2018 South Carolina Press Association Collegiate Journalist of the Year Award.

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