A former South Carolina lawmaker who has spent the past two years heading up one of the Palmetto State’s more politically active social conservative groups is leaving his post for a career opportunity with Chick-fil-A.
Joshua Putnam – president of Palmetto Family – is stepping down within the next few weeks to take a management position with the fast food giant, which is known for its support of social conservative causes. Chick-fil-A is also known for closing its doors on Sundays as an homage to its founder’s Christian faith.
“Closing our business on Sunday, the Lord’s Day, is our way of honoring God and showing our loyalty to Him,” the late Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy wrote in his 2002 book Eat Mor Chikin: Inspire More People.
Putnam’s specific position with Chick-fil-A was not immediately disclosed, however he told us on Tuesday he hoped he was “on a path” toward operating one of his own franchises at some point down the road.
“The Lord just kind of dropped it in our laps,” Putnam said of the Chick-fil-A opportunity.
Putnam also said the opportunity would allow him to work closer to his home as opposed to commuting between the Upstate and Columbia each day. Also, he told us he was tired of politics.
“After being in the State House or advocating on issues for ten years, I just needed to take a break and do something outside of politics,” he told us.
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Hard to fault him there …
Putnam (above) said he planned to remain active in Palmetto politics – and indicated he would assist Palmetto Family’s board as it began the process of identifying his successor. The 32-year-old Piedmont, S.C. native took the reins of the advocacy group in September 2018 – replacing the group’s longtime president, Oran Smith.
In 2010, Putnam became the youngest GOP lawmaker ever elected to the S.C. House of Representatives – winning a special election to fill a vacancy in S.C. House District 10 (.pdf). He won reelection in 2012, 2014 and 2016 prior to giving up his seat to run for S.C. secretary of state. He was defeated in the June 2018 GOP primary by incumbent Mark Hammond.
Putnam’s work as a lawmaker and an advocate has drawn praise from fellow socially conservative lawmakers.
“I have had the pleasure of knowing Josh since his first run for the House against the chairman of the House ways and means committee at that time,” state representative Garry Smith, a former colleague of Putnam’s, told us. “Josh has always been someone who is grounded in his beliefs that are shaped by a strong Christian worldview. This firm principled base has guided Josh in decision making. It is not hard to figure out where Josh stands on issues. That has helped him be a successful legislator, the leader of the Family Policy Alliance, and as a great human being.”
We have not always seen eye-to-eye with Palmetto Family, but we have always liked Putnam … and wish him the best as he embarks on this new chapter in his life.
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