Mark Sanford is running for Congress because he believes our country’s future is at stake if we don’t get our hands around runaway government spending.
Mark first learned the themes of hard work and frugality growing up with two brothers and a sister on their family farm near Beaufort, SC. Throughout his time in office he has brought these lessons to Columbia and Washington, where his record as a fiscal reformer and budget cutter is incontestable.
As the 115th Governor of South Carolina, serving from 2003 until 2011, Mark challenged the old way of doing things, worked to reform state government and worked to curb spending. Mark’s tenure in office saw a long list of firsts, including the first cut to the marginal income tax rate in South Carolina history, the largest recurring tax cut in state history, the first of its kind tort reform, the first in workers comp reform, and the first in the nation statewide charter school reform.
Mark’s administration instituted changes that bettered people’s lives in South Carolina, whether that meant instituting business practices that moved DMV wait times from 66 minutes to 15 minutes, Commerce selling the corporate jet and consolidating flight services with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, the first structural change to the Department of Transportation since 1917 or the cumulative work that led to $24 billion of capital investment – more than during any other administration in South Carolina history.
Mark dug in and tried to stop wasteful spending, and in so doing, stepped into what had been the exclusive sand box of the legislative body in our state. He proposed the first operational Executive Branch budget and over his time in office closed a near billion dollar funding hole he inherited upon arriving in Columbia. Mark was the first Governor in the nation to refuse stimulus funding and battled against the stimulus all the way to the state Supreme Court. By the end of his second term, the CATO institute ranked Mark the most fiscally conservative Governor in America and described him as, “A staunch supporter of spending restraint and pro-growth tax reforms.”
Prior to serving as Governor, Mark represented South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District in Washington from 1995 until 2001, where he was ranked by Citizens Against Government Waste and the National Taxpayers Union as the most fiscally conservative member in all of Congress for his efforts to rein in wasteful spending and reduce the national debt. While in Congress, Mark held his personal office to a higher financial standard as well, returning approximately $250,000 in unspent office funds to the Treasury each year.
Since leaving the governorship, Mark has served as a commentator for FOX News, began again in real estate, and held senior board positions at both Lending Tree and Coastal Forest Resources.
Mark attended Furman University where he received a BA in Business. He later received an MBA from the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business and went on to work in real estate finance and investment in New York and Charleston. Mark has four sons, Marshall, Landon, Bolton and Blake, and is engaged to Maria Belen Chapur. He currently lives in Charleston.