Doug Smith – Partner, Johnson, Smith, Hibbard & Wildman Law Firm, former SC House member

Biennially, new members of the South Carolina General Assembly gather to get to know one another in a nonpartisan, neutral atmosphere at the New Statesman Society seminar. Started in 2005 by then Speaker Pro Tempore Doug Smith as his Liberty Fellowship project, the 2.5-day conference brings newly elected lawmakers together to build connections to one another and focus on critical themes of leadership like ethics, integrity, morality, and responsibility. Readings, speakers, and activities underscore the passion for South Carolina these Legislators share while helping them establish mutual respect for one another's differences. The popular event has been attended by over 85 Legislators since it began.

"As you know, it is often difficult in the intense environment of Columbia to join together in real discussion about how to best lead the State forward. The South Carolina New Statesman Society offers us a real opportunity to join together, work together and learn together." -- Joint statement to participants prior to the 2013 seminar from Fellows/Senators Joel Lourie (D), Shane Massey (R), and Vincent Sheheen (D).

Testimonials from Participants

  • "This conference was outstanding as it brings Legislators together in a totally different setting to discuss subjects far different from the issues we normally address."
  • "New Statesman allows me to have a deeper concern and space for contrasting opinions on issues."
  • "I'm taking from New Statesman a commitment to strive to see things through the eyes of others."

Greatest Benefit

  • "Interacting with my colleagues in a different setting. I gained a new perspective of several members of the General Assembly due to the conference"
  • "Getting to really know each other on a personable level"
  • "A chance to build relationships with colleagues while being encouraged to think critically during the sessions"
  • "Relationship building – it's okay to do things in a different way"