Former Gov. Mark Sanford spoke to our club on Tuesday, April 30, 2013 about his campaign for Congress. Rotarian Amy Jenkins moderated the discussion and presented several questions for Gov. Sanford as follows:
1. What are your primary campaign platforms other than “reduced taxes?” Sanford emphasized the importance of reduced taxes as he is convinced that this remains a critical issue for the future of our state and country. He added that job creation is a critical issue. To create jobs we have to invest in SC which will improve our standard of living and quality of life.
2. How would you have voted on recent gun control legislation? Sanford would have voted against it in its current form. He believes Lindsay Graham’s bill is a good bill. Mental history should be a factor in determining if someone should be allowed to purchase a gun. He also believes that background checks would not do the job of keeping guns out of the hands of those who intend to do harm.
3. Would you support port appropriations for Charleston? He stated that issues like this are what confuse voters and how things get turned around in politics to where the truth gets lost. He stated that he supported the dredging when the bill was submitted at three different committee levels and it was not until numerous earmarks were attached to the final bill that he voted against it. He stated that this is the type of leadership and commitment to fiscal responsibility that he will bring to Congress. He also stated that one key benefit of his returning to Washington is that his seniority has remained with him and will allow him to gain key committee positions immediately upon returning to the Capitol. His opponent won’t have that benefit and he is concerned about her alliances with big government and big unions.
4. What does he believe are his most significant contributions in his service to SC? Sanford stated his contributions are wide-ranging. There is a limitless federal government demand for funds out of SC taxpayers wallets. His most significant contribution is his ability to limit government spending. He also wanted to highlight that during his tenure as Governor in SC the state set aside more land to be protected than any other past administration.
5. With the gridlock in Congress due to the inability to compromise, how would you be successful? Sanford discussed the difference between “strategy” and “tactics.” He described his fall in 2009 and believes it has led him to be a more humble leader.
6. Do you support privatization of Social Security? No, he doesn’t support privatization but wants to protect the program. Our current system is not sustainable. The question is how to change it to make it viable for the future. Prior to 1983, governments could come up with their own social security system. Counties in Southern Texas came up with an annuity plan and it has been widely successful. Sanford believes this is what you can do when the federal government allows you to control you own system and believes SC should look into these Texas programs.
In closing, Gov. Sanford stated he decided to run because he is concerned about the future of our country and wanted to finish the work he started as governor of SC. He feels that his fiscal conservatism is critical at this point in our country’s history and that the national debt is the biggest concern facing our future. He stated his past shows he is not one to follow the party line and his ranking as the most conservative governor in the country while governor of SC is an indicator of what voters can expect of him if elected to Congress.
Reported by Steve Coe, Keyway Committee