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Candy Yaghjian Waites Papers

Identifier: SCU-SCPC-CYW

Scope and Content Note: The Candy Waites collection consists of ten linear feet of material, 1964 to 2010, divided into five series: Public, Personal, Speeches, Clippings, and Photographs.

Public papers make up the largest series of the collection with almost five feet of material. These papers reflect Waites’ legislative efforts in the Richland County Council from 1976 to 1988, the General Assembly from 1988 to 1994, and her interest in the issues of ethics, the environment, women, children, and education. Of note are the ethics conference and committee reports with Waites’ handwritten notes, and the legislative action regarding the Barnwell Radioactive Waste Management Facility and the Savannah River Plant.

Personal papers include materials from Wheaton College, as well as recognitions from various organizations. Also present are materials from her campaigns for Richland County Council and State Representative from 1976 to 1994, including opposition research and questionnaires. Of note are district maps and lists showing the campaign walking routes for the 1988 campaign, canvassing notes from the different wards, and lists of voting statistics.

Speeches are arranged chronologically, 1976 to 2010, and include both speeches she gave as an elected official and outside of public office.

Clippings document her family, the “Cokes for Candy” campaign at Wheaton, her County Council and House campaigns, and her work in the General Assembly, most notably regarding issues of ethics, the environment, and the Confederate Flag. Also of note are scrapbooks that include clippings from all of her campaigns as well as her time at Wheaton. They are housed with SCPC scrapbooks.

Photographs include portraits for campaign materials, family photos, and one folder of photos from the “Cokes for Candy” campaign at Wheaton College, showing Waites parading through campus with her fellow students to fundraise for her trip to South Carolina.


  • 1964 - 2010


Library use only


9 Linear Feet


This collection documents the activities of this former president of the League of Women Voters of Columbia, Richland County Councilwoman, State Representative for House District 75, Associate Director of Children's Services under Gov. Hodges, and Columbia College lecturer of Political Science.

Biographical Note

“I want to be known as a representative who not only works hard for the people, but one who meets the highest standards of personal conduct and public service” - Candy Waites Since 1973, Candy Waites has been a prominent figure in the Columbia community. A former president of the League of Women Voters of Columbia, Waites went on to serve on Richland County Council for twelve years. In 1988, Waites was elected State Representative for House District 75, a position she held for six years. In addition, she served Governor Jim Hodges as Director of Children’s Services and was Associate Dean of Leadership and a lecturer of Political Science at Columbia College. A lifelong resident of Richland County, Candy Yaghjian Waites was born on February 21, 1943 to Edmund Yaghjian and Dorothy Candy. She earned a B.A. in English from Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts in 1965. In 1997, she received a Masters in Public Administration from the University of South Carolina. In 1965, she married Robert G. Waites and they have two daughters. With her mother active in the League of Women Voters, it is no surprise that Waites had an early interest in politics. She made national news as a senior at Wheaton College. The presidential election of 1964 was the first election in which Waites was eligible to vote. At that time South Carolina did not allow residents who attended college out of state to get an absentee ballot. Students at Wheaton started the “Cokes for Candy” campaign where students donated 10 cents (the price of a coke) to raise money for Waites to get a flight home so she could vote on election day. When the story hit the news, donations and letters of support came in from all over the country. Partially as a result of this campaign, South Carolina amended the absentee ballot law the following year. From 1973 to 1976, Waites served as the president of the League of Women Voters of Columbia/Richland County. After being contacted by both the Democratic and Republican parties about running for office, she left the post to run as a Democrat for the Richland County Council and became the first woman elected to the Council. Re-elected in 1980 and 1984, she served on the Council for twelve years. Waites served as Chairman of the Council in 1979 and served as Chair of the Administration and Finance Committee and the Development and Services Committee during her tenure. In addition, she sat on the Central Midlands Regional Planning Council Board from 1977 to 1984 and the Richland County Coordinating Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect in 1977. Governor Richard Riley appointed Waites to the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations and the SC Interagency Council on Public Transportation. In June 1988, Waites was elected to the SC House of Representatives in a special election. She was re-elected to a full term in November 1988. During her time in the House, she served on the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, the Nuclear Waste Consultation Committee, and the Local Government Study Committee. She also co-chaired the Freshmen Caucus and was secretary of the Democratic Caucus. In 1994, she decided not to pursue reelection due to district reapportionment. Outside of public office, Waites has served her community in many ways. She was on the Wachovia Bank Advisory Board, the Columbia Housing Authority Board, the Palmetto Richland Memorial Hospital Foundation Board, and Capital Senior Center Board. She was also the Director of External Programs for The Leadership Institute and Lecturer in Political Science at Columbia College. During Governor Jim Hodges’ administration, Waites served on his team as Director of Children’s Services. Waites has received many accolades for her commitment to her community throughout the years. In 1975, she was the Jaycees Outstanding Woman of the Year. She was named Legislator of the Year for 1992 and the following year was inducted into the YWCA Tribute to Women and Industry Hall of Fame. In 1998, she received the ATHENA Award which recognizes women in leadership and business. The following year, Waites was elected to the National ATHENA Foundation Board.


Donated by the Honorable Candy Y. Waites


Copyright of the Candy Y. Waites Papers has been transferred to the University of South Carolina

Processing Information

Processed by Virginia W. Blake, 2012; additions, 2014, by Chelsea Grayburn and Sarah Lerch

Repository Details

Part of the South Carolina Political Collections Repository

Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library
1322 Greene St.
University of South Carolina
Columbia SC 29208 USA

Language of description
Script of description