Phyllis Henderson

For SC House of Representatives, District 21 (I/R)

As Governor, Greenville's own Carroll Campbell said ‘Government is a system that answers to nobody, listens to nobody and serves nobody other than its own special interests. We can longer afford this type of government!' Ms. Henderson believes Carroll Campbell was right then, and his words still ring true today.

Henderson's platform is simple: She'll work to bring common sense accountability and efficiency to government. she'll work to streamline the over 165 state boards and agencies. And she'll work for comprehensive tax reform with a Constitutional cap on the amount politicians can increase spending each year. She has a Master's Degree in Public Management from Indiana University and began her career in Greenville as a Management Analyst for the City of Greenville.

Henderson says she is frustrated with business as usual and will be running a grassroots, door-to-door campaign. Henderson is the mother of three children, one who is a freshman at University of Georgia and two who attend Eastside High school. In 1998, she ran Jim DeMint's first successful campaign for Congress. Henderson is President of the PTA at Eastside High School, served one-term on Greenville County Council and most recently was a Field Operation Supervisor with the U.S. Census Bureau.

Biographical overview:

  • Businesswoman/Community Leader
  • Born in Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Daughter of the late Edward and the late Bessie Cross Bertaux
  • University of Cincinnati, B.A., 1982
  • M.P.A., Indiana University, 1984
  • April 30 married Richard Henderson, 3 children
  • Management Analyst, City of Greenville
  • Vice President, Governmental Affairs, Greater Greenville Chamber of Commerce
  • Campaign Manager, Jim DeMint for Congress, 1988
  • Past Board Member, JEDA
  • Past Board Member, Greenville Area Development Corp., Greenville County Planning Commission
  • Past Field Operation Supervisor, United States Census Bureau
  • President, Eastside High School PTA, 2010-
Here are Ms. Henderson's answers to some questions posed by the Institute.

What is the first political event or experience you can remember? How did it affect you?

My first political experience was in high school. Our government teacher required each student to do a certain number of volunteer hours on a campaign for a test grade. I can't even remember who the candidate was, but after a few days I was hooked! I actually majored in music in college, but after two years I changed my major to political science. It was a number of years before I returned to politics, but in 1992 after my first son was born and my friend Bob Inglis decided to run for Congress I got back involved! After running Jim DeMint's first congressional campaign in 1998 I ran for County Council myself in 2000.

Why you – why now for this position you're running for?

Honestly after leaving County Council in 2004 I thought I would never return to politics – too much finger pointing, back door wrangling, name calling. I haven't done anything political since then. However, as I have become increasingly frustrated with how our government has gotten off track and how spending in SC continues to rise even as men and women are out of work and just trying to make ends meet I considered the possibility of returning to politics. When this seat became open I didn't have but a few days to decide but I decided to walk through the open door and see what happens!

With relatively few women in elected office here in SC what do you foresee to be your greatest challenge once elected to public office? How will you prepare yourself to face it?

Having already served in public office I can tell you is letting the “good old boys” manipulate you and make you feel like you are a player even when they are making the decisions. If I am elected this time, I will take more time to get to know my colleagues well before making any political alliances.