U.S. Congress – 2nd District
Joe Wilson was elected to the US House of Representatives on behalf of the people of the Second District of South Carolina on December 18, 2001. The very next day on the 19th, he was sworn in during a ceremony at the Capitol. Since then, the Congressman was appointed to the House Armed Services Committee, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, and the House Foreign Relations Committee.
Previously, Rep. Wilson served in the South Carolina State Senate from Lexington County, South Carolina for seventeen years with a perfect attendance record. In 2001, Joe was elected Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee and also served on Judiciary, Education, General, Agriculture, Invitations Committees, Joint Committee on Aging, and was Vice-Chairman of the Committee to Screen Candidates for College and University Boards of Trustees. He has been a member of the Columbia College Board of Visitors and Coker College Board of Trustees.
Addison (Joe) Graves Wilson was born July 31, 1947, in Charleston, South Carolina, to the late Hugh de Veaux and the late Wray (Graves) Wilson. He graduated from the High School of Charleston in 1965 and earned a bachelor’s degree from Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia in 1969, before attending the University of South Carolina School of Law. Joe married Roxanne Dusenbury McCrory and they have four sons, Alan McCrory-Wilson, Addison Graves, Jr., Julian Dusenbury, and Hunter Taylor. The family attends First Presbyterian Church in Columbia.
He was a founding partner of the West Columbia firm of Kirkland, Wilson, Moore, Taylor& Thomas where he practiced for over 25 years. Joe previously served on the staff of Senator Strom Thurmond and Congressman Floyd Spence, was a Student Assistant to the United States Attorney for the District of South Carolina, and served as Deputy General Counsel for the United States Department of Energy with Secretary Jim Edwards. Joe is also a former Judge for the Town of Springdale, Vice-Chairman of the County Registration and Elections Commission, and member of the State Development Board.
Joe is a strong supporter of the military. A member of the United States Army Reserves from 1972-1975, he went on to serve in the South Carolina Army National Guard. After 31 years of service, Joe retired in 2003 as a Colonel serving as a Staff Judge Advocate assigned to the 218th Mechanized Infantry Brigade. Joe is a graduate of the Command General Staff College.Alan, his oldest son, is a Major in the JAG Corps, South Carolina Army National Guard who proudly served for a year in Iraq; Addison is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and a physician in the Navy who served a tour of duty in Iraq; Julian is a Captain in the South Carolina Army National Guard and a graduate of the Signal school who served on a peacekeeping tour in Egypt; and Hunter is a Second Lieutenant in the South Carolina Army National Guard who graduated from the Engineer Officer’s Basic Course at Fort Leonard Wood, MO in September 2012.
In addition to his duties as US Congressman, Joe is very active in many community and civic organizations. He has been a member and former President or Chairman of the Cayce-West Columbia Rotary Club, Sheriff’s Department Law Enforcement Advisory Council, Reserve Officers Association, Lexington County Historical Society, County Community and Resource Development Committee, American Heart Association, Mid-Carolina Mental Health Association, and NationsBank Lexington Advisory Board. He has been a board member of the Cayce-West Columbia Jaycees, Kidney Foundation, SC Lung Association, Alston-Wilkes Society, and Cayce-West Columbia Chamber of Commerce.
Joe also has been a member of the Columbia World Affairs Council, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Sinclair Lodge 154, Jamil Temple, Woodmen of the World, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Military Order of the World Wars, Springdale Elementary, Falmer Middle and Airport High School PTAs, American Legislative Exchange Council, Lexington Chamber of Commerce, Greater Irmo Chamber of Commerce, Chapin Chamber of Commerce, West Metro Chamber of Commerce, Navy League, Amvets, Association of the US Army, National Guard Association, Air Force Association, Fourteenth Air Force Association, the Yorktown Association, SC Homebuilders Association, American Legion Guignard Post, 40 & 8, Lexington and Dutch Fork Republican Women’s Clubs (Associate), and Executive Council of Indian Waters Council Boy Scouts of America.
Joe’s history in Republican politics began as a Teenage Republican at the High School of Charleston in the 1962 Workman for Senate campaign. His first visit to Washington was on a bus trip to attend the National Draft Goldwater Rally on July 4, 1963. Since then he has served as the first elected Youth Vice-Chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party, Campaign Manager for Congressman Floyd Spence in 1974, 1978, 1980, 1982, and 1998, Second District Chairman of Citizens for Reagan 1976, District Chairman for Governor Carroll Campbell 1986, Bush for President Second District Chairman 1988 and 1992, Strom Thurmond for Senate Second District Chairman 1990 and State Vice-Chairman 1996, George W. Bush for President Second District chairman 2000, and co-founded the First Tuesday Republican Club of Richland and Lexington.
Joe’s public service also has an active international interest. Since high school Joe has been an activist with anti-communist causes beginning with Charleston Youth Alert and the Goldwater and Reagan campaigns. In 1990 RNC Chairman Lee Atwater appointed him to a United States delegation to observe the first democratic elections for the Bulgarian National Assembly for the International Republican Institute. He has lectured on the democratic process in Bulgaria (1990), Slovakia (1994), and Russian Siberia (1995). He joined a South Carolina legislative delegation to the Republic of China (Taiwan) in 1996. The next year, Joe was a member of the Columbia World Affairs Council Sister Cities Delegation to Chelyabinsk, Russia, Cluj-Napoca, Romania, and Plovdiv, Bulgaria. He is a frequent host to many international delegations that visit South Carolina, providing tours of the State House, local schools and businesses, and introducing them to every day life in the United States. His first House Armed Services Delegation trip was to visit government and military leaders in Moscow; Tashkent Uzbekistan; Beijing; and Seoul with a side trip to Panmijon.
Joe Wilson has been the recipient of a number of awards and honors, including: Common Cause of SC Legislative Award 1990, College Republican Confederation Legislator of the Year 1990, Irmo Fire District Distinguished Public Service Award 1991, Woodmen of the World Citizenship Award, SC Jaycees State House Award 1993, SC Cable Television Association Legislator of the Year 1993, SC Association of Taxpayers Senator of the Year 1993, Rotary Club Paul Harris Fellow, NRA Defender of Freedom Award, Order of Palmetto 1995, Home Builders Association of SC Hammer & Trowel Award 1995, Retired Columbia Police Officers Public Service Award 1995, SC Policy Council Palmetto Leadership Award 1995, Gun Owners of SC Freedom Award 1996, American Legion Senator of the Year 1997, SC Troopers Association Senator of the Year 1997, and NFIB/SC Guardian of Small Business Award 1998. In Congress he has received the Spirit of Enterprise Award of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Friend of the Taxpayers by the Americans for Tax Reform, and the Jefferson Award by the U.S. Food Retailers Association.