NAME: Mark Sanford
OCCUPATION: Governor of South Carolina Chairman, Republican Governors Association
HOMETOWN: Charleston, SC
Mark Sanford was elected in 2002 after serving six years in the U.S. House, making good on a campaign pledge to serve only three terms as a Congressman. After graduating from Furman University, he went onto receive an MBA at the University of Virginia. He is married to Jenny Sanford, and they are busy raising four boys – Marshall, Landon, Bolton and Blake. You can learn more about what the Governor is up to at www.scgovernor.com, where the Governor has a ‘GovTube‘ page with videos highlighting everything from why SCHIP is bad to the many downsides of overspending.
What does “Conservatism” mean to you?
It means freedom. It is a guiding political philosophy aimed at limiting government’s political and financial reach so that an individual’s personal freedoms are maximized. Doing so is important to maintaining our many different dreams of life that go with what the founding fathers had simply called the “pursuit of happiness.”
What is at the top of your ‘I tunes’ play list right now?
Friends give me a hard time about being conservative in more than just my political views, and so they would bet that I would still be listening to music on an eight track or at best a cassette tape. I’m not that antiquated, but I don’t yet have an I-tunes play list or an I-Pod to play it on! If I did, I’d say let’s go out of the box and pick Moby’s song “Play.”
Name three interesting guests (living) you would like to host for dinner.
Richard Branson, Charles Koch and David McCullough. Branson for the way that he just seems to have a lot of fun and to approach business as an adventure as he’s grown the Virgin Label worldwide. Koch for the way he is that rare businessman who seems not to have sacrificed his views on the proper role of government on the altar of business success. Finally, McCullough for his amazing knowledge of historic years like 1776 and historic people.
Who was your influence in conservatism?
My father through his life and words taught me about how hard people indeed worked to make a living and to build on dreams – things he didn’t believe should be orchestrated or dictated by government.
What is your idea of earthly happiness?
I don’t think there is one idea. For me, there are many. There’s untold happiness in just watching the smile of one of your children – even more in watching their march in developing into an able young man. It can come in the ephemeral, ranging from a bowl of chocolate ice cream for me – to the wag in the tail of one our black labs as we get ready to go hunting. Ultimately, more important than one day’s happiness meter is satisfaction — and that comes in trying however imperfectly to live your mission in life. I think God puts us all here for a reason, and mine in this chapter is to try and slow government’s growth – oddly that brings me happiness!
What is your guilty pleasure?
It depends on the week. My latest is that I bought a new tractor for the farm and given these economic times, doing so is somewhat indulgent. So in that regard I feel a touch of guilt – but even more pleasure in the new John Deere green!
What is the first website you visit every morning? (Heritage.org excluded!)
I’m old fashioned — I don’t. For me, it’s just the daily newspaper and The Wall Street Journal.
What is the last book you read, and do you recommend it?
The River of Doubt. It’s about a fascinating chapter of Teddy Roosevelt’s life and I do recommend it.
What do you worry about?
The good news is that I don’t sweat the small things. The bad news is that I’m worried about the future of our country in the form of capitalism that will drive our nation going forward.
Name your hidden talent.
Oddly enough, it’s running heavy equipment. Our family’s farm afforded me the chance to develop these skills growing up and I find a certain level of satisfaction in moving dirt whenever I indeed get the chance.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
It’s a shared achievement with my wife, Jenny, but four great boys who at this point seem on course to develop into great young men is by far what I would consider my greatest achievement. Nothing comes remotely close.
If you are asking specifically in the political realm it would be in our work to allow South Carolinians to keep more of their hard earned dollars. We cut the marginal income tax rate for the first time in our state’s history, and passed the largest recurring tax cut in state history.