Wendell Gilliard

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Wendell Gilliard
Member of the South Carolina House of Representatives
from the 111th district
Assumed office
January 2009
Personal details
Born (1954-08-01) August 1, 1954 (age 63)
Charleston, South Carolina
Political party Democratic Party
Children 4
Residence Charleston, South Carolina
Alma mater DeVry University
Tennessee State University
Occupation steelworker, union official

Wendell Gilliard (born August 1, 1954) is an American politician, steelworker, and union official. A Democrat, Gilliard serves as a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, representing the 111th district.

Early life[edit]

Gilliard was born in Charleston, South Carolina. His father came from Marion, South Carolina, and worked at the Charleston Air Force Base. He has five siblings. Gilliard's mother died of an aneurysm when he was five years old.[1]

Gilliard grew up on the East Side of Charleston before moving to West Ashley at the age of seven.[1] He attended Burke High School and Rivers High School, graduating from Rivers in 1973. He then attended Bell and Howell School of Technology (now known as DeVry University).[1][2] He also attended Labor Organizing College at Tennessee State University.[1]


Gilliard left Bell and Howell after three years to work in a retail store owned by his brother. The store closed due to declining sales, and in 1981, Gilliard began to work as a plant operator for Mobil Chemical. He later worked for Rhodia.[1] In 1982, Gilliard was elected vice president of Local 863 of the United Steelworkers.[3] He later became its president.[4]

Gillard was elected a Charleston City Councilman in 1998.[2] In 1999, he sponsored non-binding legislation that labeled the Ku Klux Klan as a terrorist organization.[5] He was unopposed in his bid for a second term in 2002.[2] In 2003, Gilliard walked out of a city council meeting after Herb Silverman, an atheist, gave an invocation.[6] While serving as a city councilman, Gilliard levied a charge of unsafe working conditions against Rhodia, and was fired.[7] He also rallied against a porn shop and for modesty laws in Marion Square.[8]

In 2008, he ran for the South Carolina House of Representatives in the 111th district.[9][10] Gilliard contemplated running in the special election for South Carolina's 1st congressional district.[11]

Personal life[edit]

Gilliard has four children, three sons and one daughter.[1] He is divorced.[2]