COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster is turning to an experienced friend to lead January's inauguration ceremonies for his second term.
Bill Stern and his wife, Linda, will lead the Inaugural Committee planning the events, including McMaster taking the oath of office on the Statehouse steps on Jan. 11, inaugural spokesperson Rob Godfrey said Tuesday.
This will be the third time Bill Stern and his wife have put together ceremonies for governors as they take power. The South Carolina Ports Authority board chair, developer and significant Republican donor organized McMaster's first inaugural in 2019 and Gov. Mark Sanford's second inaugural in 2007.
McMaster thanked the Sterns for their work and said he and his wife, Peggy, know they will put together two days of memorable events.
"The inauguration is a celebration Peggy and I cherish because it brings together the people of our great state every four years to honor precisely what it is that makes South Carolina unique," the governor said in a statement.
The full schedule of events will be announced later, but inauguration day typically starts with a prayer service at a downtown Columbia church, the swearing-in ceremony around noon, an open house at the Governor's Mansion, and an inaugural ball.
The South Carolina Constitution sets the governor's four-year term to start at noon on the Wednesday after the second Tuesday in January. That date falls on Jan. 11 in 2023.
Bill Stern said he and Linda are honored and excited to put together another ceremony.
"We are proud to call South Carolina home, and we never miss an opportunity to showcase why. The inauguration of the governor and lieutenant governor are the perfect chance to do just that," Stern said in a statement.
McMaster, 75, won reelection in November with 58% of the vote. If he completes his second term, he would serve as governor for 10 years, longer than any other executive in the state's history, since he took office in 2017 for the final two years of Gov. Nikki Haley's term.
She had resigned to be former President Donald Trump's U.N. ambassador. Both Stern and McMaster were early supporters of Trump's presidential bid.
McMaster is already the oldest governor in the state's history. His reelection argument was simple — if you like what you've seen so far, I'll give you more. He has touted the booming economy and his willingness to fight Democratic President Joe Biden when needed.
The other members of the Inaugural Committee who will join Stern are C. Dan Adams; Bill and Sheri Biggs; Wallace and Sloan Cheves; Henry and Nevitte Swink; and Greg and Danielle Thompson.
McMaster turned to legislative leaders to be honorary chairs of his Inaugural Committee, tapping Senate President Thomas Alexander, House Speaker Murrell Smith, and former House Speaker and Ambassador to Canada David Wilkins.
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