Sanford speaks at NAACP meeting

  • Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Steve McDaniel/Gazette U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) speaks to those gathered at Monday night's Goose Creek NAACP meeting.

Second chances, states’ rights and health care were all topics of discussion for U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford at Monday night’s monthly Goose Creek NAACP meeting.

Sanford, R-S.C., answered questions ranging from the Affordable Care Act to same-sex marriage in an hour-long discussion in front of a group of about 25 people.

He fielded questions on health care at several points during the evening, including the new “Obamacare” law.

“I think it’s going to have more harmful effects in terms of employment,” he said. “I spoke with a man today who said he couldn’t increase payroll over 50 people because he’d then have to offer health care under ACA.”

The turmoil in Ferguson, Mo., was brought up as an example of the continuing racial divide in the country. Sanford said forums such as the one Monday night can help bridge that gap.

“Sitting down and talking, like we’re doing now,” he offered as a solution. “I always tell my boys to have the wisdom to know what you don’t know. You might have a better perspective on something than I do, so I need to listen to yours.”

Sanford said at the outset of the discussion that everyone shares a common goal, no matter what race or socioeconomic level we belong to.

“We all like to have a little bit better lives for ourselves,” he said. “And, especially, for a little bit better lives for those we love.”

Sanford also referred to his well-publicized scandal that ultimately cost him the governorship, saying he felt blessed to have a second chance to represent the people of South Carolina.

“I’ve been blessed by the grace of God and human grace to get a second chance,” he said. “I went through a rather searing experience a number of years back. I’ve been through some high points and some low points. I’d say I’ve learned more from the low points, and I’m especially appreciative to have the opportunity to represent y’all in Washington.”

On legalization of same-sex marriage and marijuana, Sanford said while he was personally opposed to both, he supported states’ rights to enact laws as voted on by their citizens.

“Is it fair for the federal government to tell Colorado or California that their state laws are illegal?” he asked. “Each state has the right to choose. While I might not agree with what they decide, I believe very strongly in state rights.”

Several people asked questions regarding the recently enacted state voter identification act, which Sanford said he supports.

“You have to show an ID to get nasal spray at CVS,” he said. “But for the most sacred vote that you have in a democracy, you don’t have to show an ID?

“I understand why many people see this as unnecessary, but it seems reasonable to me to have to show an ID to vote.”

Sanford also said he was in favor of term limits for elected officials.

“Some of our founding fathers were deeply involved in politics their whole lives, but they didn’t stay in one place the whole time,” he said. “It’s like kids playing musical chairs and staying in their favorite chair. It doesn’t allow for new ideas or for new people to come into the system.”

He also acknowledged that campaign finance laws needed an overhaul, but suggested that a fix won’t come easily due to the complex relationship between large, powerful political action committees and policy makers.

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