Henry Dargan McMaster was sworn in as governor of South Carolina on January 24, 2017.
Prior to becoming governor, McMaster served two years as lieutenant governor of South Carolina, eight years as attorney general of South Carolina and four years as U.S. attorney for South Carolina. McMaster was the last independently elected lieutenant governor of South Carolina, and served as president of the Senate for the duration of his term.
As attorney general, McMaster made prosecution of criminal domestic violence a priority and harnessed the resources of law enforcement and prosecutors to crack down on child Internet predators. He also extended the State Grand Jury’s jurisdiction to securities crimes after the collapse of Carolina Investors and Home Gold, convicting those responsible, and also extended jurisdiction to environmental crimes and gang crimes. He issued the landmark opinion to protect South Carolina marsh islands from encroachment, won in the State Supreme Court the Life Science Act case, and organized and led the states in the constitutional challenge to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The first U.S. Attorney appointed by President Ronald Reagan, McMaster was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate. His “Operation Jackpot” investigation into international drug smuggling produced over 100 convictions. In 2012 and upon Governor Nikki Haley’s appointment, McMaster and former Attorney General Travis Medlock led a bi-partisan commission to reform ethics laws and restore the public’s trust in state government.
McMaster was elected chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party in 1993 and was re-elected three times, also serving on the Republican National Committee until 2002. As chairman, he ushered in Republican majorities in the state’s House, Senate and constitutional offices. A former member of the South Carolina Ports Authority board, the state Commission on Higher Education and recipient of the Order of the Palmetto, McMaster is admitted to practice in all courts, state and federal, in South Carolina, the U.S. District Court (1974), the U.S. Court of Claims (1974), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (1975) and the Supreme Court of the United States (1978).
McMaster received his AB degree in history in 1969 from the University of South Carolina and his Juris Doctor degree in 1973 from the University of South Carolina School of Law, where he served on the Law Review. He entered private practice in Columbia in 1974 with Tompkins and McMaster, established in 1898. The son of the late attorney and former State Representative John Gregg McMaster and the late Ida Dargan McMaster, McMaster is married to Peggy McMaster, and they have two children, Henry D. McMaster, Jr. and Mary Rogers McMaster.
Peggy McMaster became first lady of South Carolina when her husband, Governor Henry McMaster, was sworn in on Jan. 24, 2017.
Mrs. McMaster grew up in Spartanburg, South Carolina. She attended Spartanburg Junior College and graduated from the University of South Carolina with a degree in business administration and fashion. Following graduation, she became a small business owner, opening and operating The Parasol boutique for 17 years.
The first lady has served as president for the Women of the Church of First Presbyterian in Columbia and is active in all aspects of her church. She has served on the boards of Laurel Crest Retirement Community and Sistercare, Inc., and she is a member of the Columbia Garden Club.
The first lady and Governor McMaster have been married for 38 years. They have two children, Henry Dargan McMaster, Jr. and Mary Rogers McMaster.
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