Topic: David Wilkins

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David Horton Wilkins (born October 12, 1946) is an American attorney and a former U. S. Ambassador to Canada during the administration of President George W. Bush. Prior to the appointment, he practiced law for 30 years while serving in the South Carolina House of Representatives for 25 of those years. He was speaker of the South Carolina House for 11 years. Wilkins presently chairs the public policy and international law practice department of a large South Carolina law firm.

A life-long resident of South Carolina, Wilkins graduated from Greenville High School, attended Clemson University on a tennis scholarship, and graduated cum laude with a bachelor's degree in 1968. He earned his law degree from the University of South Carolina and then served in the Army as a first lieutenant. In the early 1970s, he returned to Greenville, where he and his wife, Susan, raised their two sons.

Wilkins, a Republican, was first elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 1980. He quickly rose through the ranks of the Democratically-controlled House, serving six years as chairman of the Judiciary Committee and two years as speaker pro tem before being elected speaker, a position he held for 11 years. He was the first Republican to elected speaker of any legislative body in the South since Reconstruction and when he retired on June 2, 2005, he was the third longest serving speaker in South Carolina history.

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