Rep. Nancy Mace reflects on the highlights of the 2019 House session - part 2
It’s been a productive legislative season for House District 99 Representative Nancy Mace. The Daniel Island resident sat down with The Daniel Island News recently to provide a recap of the recent House session and a preview of what’s to come. In last week’s issue, Rep. Mace reviewed some of the highlights of the session and the work she is most proud of. She also announced she is considering a run for U.S. Congress.
In part-two of the series, Rep. Mace addresses today’s contentious political scene, a recent bill that was very personal for the legislator, and lessons she has learned thus far during her time in office.
Daniel Island News: Modern politics gets pretty divisive. Why have you tried to be respectful to the opposing party?
Nancy Mace: “For us to do anything, we have to do it together. When I amended the Fetal Heartbeat bill, that was the only amendment that passed. Out of 124 amendments on the floor that day, my amendment for exceptions was the only one that passed. The only way we can be successful politically is to reach across the aisle. I would have not been successful with that amendment had I not had brothers and sisters who were Democrats willing to help me and work with me to get there.”
“We need someone who’s willing to say ‘hey, we have a problem here, let’s fix it.’ At the end of the day, our goals are the same, but our approaches may be different.”
DIN: A lot happened with the Fetal Heartbeat bill. You shared your personal experience as a survivor of rape, some members of your own party disagreed with your view that exceptions should be allowed for abortion, and there were several instances of personal attacks on you for your views. Looking back on it, what are your thoughts on everything that happened?
NM: “I am not afraid to buck the party or to buck colleagues of mine when they’ve earned it. I think there’s something about walking quietly but having a big stick, too. So, while I speak out, I’m very careful and judicious because I have a big following, I have a big microphone, I have a platform, and I want to be thoughtful with how I use it. And that was a very tenuous experience or moment, and for me, giving a voice to victims who don’t have one— it’s important. Most women are unwilling to speak up and speak out about that sort of thing.”
“I’m pro-life. I would choose life. I would beg my daughter, if something happened to her, if she was in the same situation I was in, I would ask her to choose life. But, for a 10-year-old child, who’s been repeatedly raped by her father, and gets pregnant, she’s not going to know that she’s pregnant when she’s five weeks along, six weeks along.”
DIN: In a recent letter to the editor written by Jen Gibson, your former competitor for District 99, she accused you of not supporting educators. Do you have any response to that?
NM: “To say that I’m not supportive of education in South Carolina is absolutely incorrect. I’m a product of public schools. I dropped out of school when I was 17. I know firsthand some of the inherent challenges, that are not just current today. Some of the issues that our schools face are decades old. Not only have I sponsored education legislation, I was a co-sponsor on the education reform bill.”
DIN: What have you learned during your time as a legislator thus far?
NM: “Really, it’s like anything else. It’s about building relationships and ensuring that you build the right relationships with the right people so you can be effective. It’s one thing to go up there and vote ‘yes’ on everything. It’s another to go up there and vote ‘no’ on everything. But, what are you actually doing? Are we actually pushing a button or are we advocating for people?”
“Half of what I do is really related to providing a service to my constituents, so regardless of what political party you’re affiliated with, I don’t care. If you have a problem and you need help, I’m here to help you solve it. I’ve helped folks from DMV issues to ‘hey, this orange cone is in the road, can we move it?’”
Have a question for Rep. Nancy Mace? She hosts regular “Ask Me Anything” sessions, as well as updates on her legislative activities, on her Facebook page. Tune in at https://www.facebook.com/nancyrmace/.