Speaker Biography


Mia S. McLeod was born and raised in South Carolina, where she attended public schools along the infamous “Corridor of Shame.” With the support and guidance of her parents (a public school teacher and small business owner), she was able to get a quality education…something she believes every child deserves, regardless of where they happen to live or the resources their families may have.

During college, she served as a Page for then-Representative David Beasley, who later became Governor of South Carolina. This experience introduced her to the legislative process and South Carolina politics. After graduating, she worked at the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce before she was accepted and enrolled at the University of South Carolina School of Law, where she later earned her Juris Doctorate.

Since then, Mia has worked in and through state government, advocating for important issues like public education, economic development, Medicaid expansion, pro-small business initiatives, tougher domestic violence laws, common sense gun reforms, better race relations and more diversity and inclusion. She’s a strong voice, working alongside Republicans and Democrats to achieve progress for the people of South Carolina.

During the mid-90s, when South Carolina was number one in the nation for domestic violence homicides, Mia successfully launched a statewide initiative for former SC Attorney General Charlie Condon, that developed multidisciplinary protocols, curricula and training for law enforcement, solicitors and judges when investigating, prosecuting and adjudicating cases of violence against women.

Mia was later appointed by former Governor Jim Hodges to direct the State Office of Victim Assistance (SOVA) and while serving, was recognized by the Nat’l Crime Victim Compensation Program for creating satellite offices in rural, underserved counties to help broaden service outreach and access, ultimately easing the process for crime victims. Her innovative management practices brought national attention to South Carolina’s Crime Victim Compensation Program, which became a model for other states.

Prior to serving in the SC House, Mia served on the SC Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors and was an active participant on the small business, education, diversity and public relations committees.

In 2010, Mia became the first woman to represent House District 79 and the only Democrat elected to the House that year in a “swing” district. A resident of NE Columbia for 19 years, Mia is a community leader who has been recognized as one of South Carolina’s “Top 20 Under 40” and more recently, in Governing Magazine, as a woman leader who is among a small group of women across the country to be selected to participate in Governing Women’s inaugural Leadership Class. She has earned the distinction of “Liberty Fellow,” which is affiliated with the Aspen Global Leadership Network. She’s also a New Deal Leader, SC Education Policy Fellow and SC Diversity Leader.

In 2016, Mia introduced a bill that initiated a national conversation about why government shouldn’t interfere in women’s (or men’s) healthcare decisions. Subscribers across South Carolina and the nation, rave about her no-nonsense communications. A proud mother of two sons, Mia represented House District 79 for six years and was recently elected to the SC Senate, District 22 (Richland & Kershaw Counties), where she now serves on the Senate Judiciary, Transportation, Corrections & Penology and General Committees. Mia is the first woman to represent Richland County in the SC Senate.