Ken Ard (politician)

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Ken Ard
88th Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina
In office
January 12, 2011 – March 9, 2012
Governor Nikki Haley
Preceded by André Bauer
Succeeded by Glenn F. McConnell
Personal details
Born (1963-12-18) December 18, 1963 (age 51)
Pamplico, South Carolina
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Tammy Ard
Children 3
Profession Businessman; former Florence county councilman

James Kenneth "Ken" Ard (born December 18, 1963) was the 88th Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina, having served January 12, 2011[1] to March 9, 2012.

Early life[edit]

Ken Ard was born in Pamplico, South Carolina. The son of Jimmy and Margie Ard, Ken graduated Hannah-Pamplico High School and later attended Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

He began working for the family business, Double A Body Builders, while still in high school. The company designs, manufactures and installs custom-built truck bodies.[2] In 1996, Ken and his brother, Sammie, purchased the company from their father, taking responsibility for Double A Body Builder’s statewide reputation and its 25 full-time employees. Under their management, the company expanded considerably over the next decade. It grew to employ over 100 people, and is now one of the largest of its kind in the Southeastern U.S.

Ken sold his interest in the company to his brother in 2008, in order to more fully dedicate his time to public service.

Politics[edit]

Ard was elected to the Florence County Council in 2004. While there, he focused on fiscal issues and was instrumental in implementing several notable budgetary reforms. He was also active in gaining state funding for much-needed road improvements in Florence County.

Drawing on his business experience, he made the recruitment of major industries to Florence County a central concern. While on the council, Ken worked tirelessly to attract companies like H.J. Heinz Company, Johnson Controls, Monster.com and The QVC Network to the area, stimulating considerable economic growth throughout the county. Also during this time, Florence County was named one of the top five most business-friendly counties in the nation by Site Selection magazine, a national publication covering corporate real estate strategy and area economic development.[3]

He was elected chairman of the Florence County Republican Party in 2009.

Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina[edit]

South Carolina's previous lieutenant governor, Andre Bauer, ran for governor in 2010, leaving an open race for lieutenant governor. Ard finished first against three other candidates in the Republican primary and ultimately emerged victorious as the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor.

In the general election, Ard faced Democrat Ashley Cooper. Ard won the election, with 55% to Cooper's 45%,[4] and was sworn in as the 88th Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina on January 12, 2011.

As Lieutenant Governor, he served as President of the South Carolina Senate and oversaw South Carolina's Office on Aging.[5]

In February 2011, reports surfaced that the State Ethics Commission was pursuing an investigation into Ard's campaign expenditures between the 2010 election and his inauguration the following January. According to reports, Ard's campaign purchases included nearly $800 at a woman's fashion boutique and the paying of a hotel bill in Atlanta at the time the USC Gamecocks were playing in a Southeastern Conference game there. Ard reportedly also spent over $1000 of campaign funds on meals, coffee and a birthday dinner for himself.[6]

Currently, Ard is facing 92 ethics charges of which 69 are related to converting campaign funds for personal use and 23 charges of failing to disclose spending.[7] He submitted his resignation on March 9, 2012.[8]

He pled guilty to seven charges related to his ethics violations.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Ken has been married to his wife, Tammy, for over 23 years and they have three children, Jesse, Mason and Libby. They have been members of Southside Baptist Church in Florence, South Carolina, for 15 years.

References[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
André Bauer
Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina
2011–2012
Succeeded by
Glenn F. McConnell
Party political offices
Preceded by
André Bauer
Republican nominee for Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina
2010
Succeeded by
Henry McMaster