David H. Wilkins served as the 21st United States Ambassador to Canada from 2005-2009.
Ambassador Wilkins traveled throughout Canada extensively, visiting every province and territory, listening to and learning from Canadian citizens. His highest priority was to strengthen the ties that bind the United States with Canada.
Ambassador Wilkins was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 1980 and served there for 25 years. He quickly rose through the ranks in the House of Representatives, serving six years as chairman of the House 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 elected speaker of any legislative body in the South since Reconstruction and retired as one of the longest serving speakers in the country.
In his 25 years in the Legislature, Ambassador Wilkins was on the cutting-edge of most major reform legislation including South Carolina's historic ethics bill and the Education Accountability Act. He played a key role in the relocation of the Confederate flag from the State Capitol Building and led the fight to ban video gambling.
Throughout his distinguished career, Ambassador Wilkins has received numerous awards including the 2004 Excellence in State Legislative Leadership Award from the National Conference of State Legislatures. He has been named Outstanding Legislator of the Year by a wide range of organizations and also was named the National Republican Legislator of the Year.
A strong supporter of President George W. Bush, Ambassador Wilkins served as state chairman of the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign and as co-chair of the campaign in 2000. He was appointed by the President to the Board of Visitors of the United States Academy at West Point in 2002.
A native of Greenville, South Carolina, Ambassador Wilkins graduated from Greenville High School and received his undergraduate degree from Clemson University and his law degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law. After service in the Army, he returned to Greenville where he practiced law for more than 30 years.
Areas of Expertise
- Economic - Energy
- Economic - Trade
- Political - General Policy