David Beasley at the Global Citizen Festival in Hamburg, Germany. 2017. Photo taken by Frank Schwichtenberg. Wikimedia Commons.
(1957- ) Beasley was born in Lamar (Darlington County) the son of Richard and Jacqueline Beasley. He graduated from Lamar High School in 1975 and attended Clemson University from 1976 to 1978. He transferred to the University of South Carolina in 1979 after being elected to the S.C. House of Representatives at the age of twenty-two. He received his undergraduate degree in 1979 and his law degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1983. He married Mary Wood Payne in 1988. They have three children.
Beasley served in the S.C. House of Representatives from 1979 to 1994 and his legislative focus was on education. Beasley was chair of the Joint Legislative Committee on Education, chair of the House Education and Public Works Committee, and vice chair of the Joint Legislative Committee on Children. From 1987 to 1988 he was majority leader, and in 1991 he was elected Speaker Pro Tempore. In the fall of 1991, Beasley switched to the Republican Party and in 1994 Beasley won the election for governor.
Beasley's conservative political philosophy emphasized that social problems could best be solved by creating wealth through the private sector.During his first three years as governor, more than $16 billion in private-sector capital investments was made in South Carolina and property and business taxes were reduced. Beasley also supported welfare reform through a welfare-to-work program that gave tax credits to businesses that hired welfare workers. In addition he helped start the Putting Families First Foundation, which brought together churches, local chambers of commerce, and other voluntary organizations to assist welfare families in making the transition from public assistance to self-support.
In 1998 Beasley was defeated in his bid for reelection and moved to his farm in Society Hill and joined the Bingham Consulting Group, an international business and consulting firm.