About Us

While serving as Governor, Gov. Riley and Senator Isadore Lourie started the SC Democratic Leadership Council as the state affiliate of the highly successful national Democratic Leadership Council. Founded in 1985, the DLC is an idea center, catalyst, and national voice for a reform movement that is reshaping American politics by moving it beyond the old left-right debate. In 1991, then Governor Bill Clinton, Chairman of the DLC, successfully built his presidential campaign on the New Democrat principles and innovations championed by the DLC.

SC New Democrats continue this reform tradition in the Palmetto state by developing new and innovative policy ideas and encouraging new creative leadership. Their activities include New Voices from New Democrats, a weekday radio program; creating a Local Elected Officials Network; developing the Reform Agenda for Success in the 21st Century: Restoring Hope and the American Dream For Everyone in South Carolina; holding numerous policy briefings and issue forums and many others. Most recently, they have launched the “5 Big Ideas” Campaign to develop bold reforms in education and health care to serve as a new, unifying vision for the Democratic Party and the future of our state.


  • 1985, in reaction to Mondale’s historic loss, national Democratic Leadership Council was founded
  • Started by a number of moderate Democratic governors, senators, congressmen and local elected officials
  • Goal was to promote public debate within the Democratic Party about reforming the Party
  • Gov. Richard Riley started the state chapter, Sen. Isadore Lourie was an early leader
  • Bill Clinton was DLC Chairman and best example nationally of DLC policies
  • Now DLC is a vitally important part of Democratic Party nationally and on state level

Key Themes-

  • Opportunity – equal opportunity for all, special privilege for none – education reform, economic growth, minimum wage
  • Community – we’re all in it together – community service and educations scholarships, shared values and commitment to the common good
  • Responsibility – work hard and play by the rules, personal responsibility with welfare reform, corporate responsibility re oppose special interest

Beyond tired rhetoric of Left vs Right – real divide is Future vs Past

Part of Reform tradition of Democratic Party consistent with spirit of:

  • Kennedy – bold ideas, vision, new technology, moon shot
  • Johnson – civil rights, activist government for equal opportunity
  • Carter – commitment to the environmental, human rights globally
  • Clinton – balanced budget, economic growth, welfare and social policy reform

Global ‘Third Way’ movement with Tony Blair, Nelson Mandela and others

In South Carolina -

  • Dick Riley is founder and best example of SC New Democrats ideas and policies
  • Various SC New Democrats activities include, seminars, leadership training, ‘Digital Dialogue’
  • Have built and maintained ‘network’ of people via website and newsletters – 10,000+ subscribers
  • April ’06 begin re-organizing with new leadership and new strategic plan

Today – New Democrats for a New South Carolina

Our goal is to reform the SC Democratic Party so we can then win statewide –
So we can govern and reform the state –
To improve education, build a strong economy, preserve our values and special quality of life.