CLOVER — Former state Rep. Herb Kirsh of Clover – the longest-serving member of the Legislature before he was defeated in 2010 – has been hospitalized in Gaston County, N.C., hospital and emergency officials say.
Kirsh is in fair condition in the emergency department at Caromont Regional Medical Center, formerly Gaston Memorial Hospital, a hospital official said this morning.
Police in Clover went to Kirsh’s home after a 911 hang-up call this morning, said Capt. David Dover of the Clover Police Department. Kirsh was taken to the hospital by emergency responders, Dover said.
Kirsh, 84, a former mayor and Clover town councilman, represented western York County in the S.C. House starting in 1978.
A Democrat who was known for his fiscal conservatism while running his family store in downtown Clover, Kirsh was unseated by Republican Tommy Pope in 2010.
State Rep. Gary Simrill, R-Rock Hill, one of Kirsh’s closest friends in the Legislature, said Kirsh’s devotion to public service is “legendary.”
Simrill said he is “in prayer for my good friend Herb Kirsh, and I am hoping he has a quick recovery.”
State Sen. Wes Hayes, R-Rock Hill, who served with Kirsh for two decades in the Legislature, said he was “so sorry to hear” Kirsh had been hospitalized.
“I always have had, and still do have, the ultimate respect for Herb,” Hayes said.
Kirsh almost always sided with Republicans on financial and budget matters, earning the nickname “Representative No.”
Yet Kirsh had little use for partisan politics, voting his conservative values on economic matters while often voting with Democrats on social issues. Kirsh was for years a leading Democrat on the House Ways & Means Committee, which gave him clout in determining what programs were funded.
When running against Kirsh in 2010, Pope lauded Kirsh’s decades of service and commitment to being a frugal steward of taxpayer dollars.
“Herb has always been a fighter,” Pope said. “We will keep him and his family in our prayers.”
Kirsh has spent his adult life championing the town of Clover. Kirsh’s wife, Sue, often called “The First Lady of Clover,” died in 2009.
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