Being efficient and expeditious has been the hallmark of Herb Kirsh's legislative career - to the very end.
Kirsh arrived at his Clover office at 5 a.m. on Wednesday to do the people's business. He signed three applications to be a notary public. He wrote short letters to state Sen. Wes Hayes, leader of the local delegation, resigning from his various legislative committees and other appointments. He cancelled reservations for an upcoming Council of Government trip to Myrtle Beach.
With those few actions Kirsh officially ended 32 years of service to South Carolina and York County. He was the longest-serving member of the state House of Representatives.
"I am retired from politics," he said. "I've been there long enough."
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Kirsh said he has no intentions of running again and told his son, Kevin, to throw his campaign signs in the trash.
Or maybe, it was the other way around. "I told him he was retired," Kevin said.
On Tuesday, Republican Tommy Pope, the former 16th Circuit solicitor, defeated Kirsh, a Democrat. Pope won by almost a 2-to-1 margin taking all 16 of the precincts in District 47, which includes western York County and Clover.
Kirsh, who is 81, said he saw the defeat coming, particularly in the final days of the U.S. Rep. John Spratt and Mick Mulvaney campaign. Voters wanted change and long-term incumbents such as Spratt and Kirsh were swept out.
He leaves with no bitterness, no regrets and no advice for Pope.
"His signs said he was proven. Prove it," Kirsh said.
That means, Kirsh said, constituent problems are now Pope's responsibility.
"My taking of the problems is over," Kirsh said. "I hope Pope helps people. He probably will."
Pope and Kirsh have not talked since Tuesday's election. Pope went to Columbia on Wednesday for a post-election Republican caucus.
Pope said he will be ready for the constituent calls. "I guess I will get some practice before I get sworn in," he said.
Pope said he has not set a date for his swearing-in. The next legislative begins in January.
Kirsh may have made his break from politics, but it will be hard to separate the man from the profession that has been his passion for most of his life. Before serving in Columbia he was the mayor pro-tem and then mayor of Clover.
There are reminders of Kirsh's service scattered thorough out the Clover office which served as his legislative headquarters. He rented the space to the state for $200 a month.
There is campaign literature on a small table. On the wall are his legislative license plates. He was number "114" when he took office in 1979. He now holds the "1" license plate.
The phone message still says Rep. Herb Kirsh, although he promises that will change soon.
The new message? "Herb Kirsh speaking," he said.
There is also the matter of money. Kirsh will continue to draw his legislative pension. He started drawing it when he was 71. He also has money left in his campaign account.
He plans to use the money to buy postage stamps. Kirsh said when the "forever" U.S. stamps were released several years ago, he took $10,000 from his account and purchased postage.
Being frugal, he said, is more than just a reputation.
Kirsh built his reputation on listening and learning. "In my first year in the Legislature I shut up because I didn't know anything," he said. "In my second year, I didn't stop talking."
He was among the most knowledgeable on the state budget, serving on the House Ways and Means Committee.
Kirsh said he would like to be remembered as a statesman, rather than a politician.
"A statesman makes decisions using rhyme and reason," he said. "A politician makes decisions because they are popular."
Freed from his Columbia obligations, Kirsh said he would like to travel. He has a 2008 Lincoln with fewer than 1,000 miles on it. He might travel to Florida to visit relatives.
He will continue to attend Clover High School football games. He was a guard on the 1949 state championship team. "I was the biggest boy on the team - and the slowest," he said.
Obligations such as serving on the Clover Community Bank board of directors should continue to make him a familiar face in his hometown.
There is one legislative perk Kirsh plans to hold on to for as long as he can: that number "1" license plate
"I'll keep it until it expires," he said.