Rep. Nancy Mace looks ahead at her legislative goals for 2019
House District 99 Representative Nancy Mace of Daniel Island survived an election gauntlet in her first year in office. In 12 months, the congresswoman was elected in a primary, run-off, general, and special elections.
“It was grueling,” she said recently, reflecting on the experience. “I had to raise a lot of money, I had to put my professional life on hold to be able to run for office.”
Mace made the task sound backbreaking, while also referring to it as her favorite accomplishment of 2018.
“It’s a tremendous sacrifice, but one that I’m honored to do. It’s a huge honor,” she described.
In between the series of election wins and getting her feet wet in state and federal legislature, Mace built a list of issues she wants to tackle in her first full term as District 99’s representative, beginning in 2019.
The first piece of legislation she will work on will be her anti-child luring bill that will go in front of the South Carolina state legislature early this year. The bill comes after several reported incidents of older men attempting to lure children into their cars in Mt. Pleasant and downtown Charleston. There is no law explicitly stating this is illegal, and, according to law enforcement, it is more difficult to arrest and try offenders because of this.
“We’re not perfect and there are gaps in our laws, and when you can find one that is meaningful and has an enormous impact on the community, those are the kinds of issues that I enjoy tackling,” said Mace.
Infrastructure and education are two large topics that the representative wants to explore in the coming year, adding that these issues affect Daniel Island the most.
Mace has meetings planned with the South Carolina Department of Transportation and said that she intends to talk with them about the Wando Bridge, among other transportation issues regularly seen by residents.
On the education front, Mace wants to explore ways to protect college students from additional fees and high tuition costs.
“Here in South Carolina, where we have nominal average wages,” she explained, “the average salary is $44,000. We have skyrocketing tuition costs.”
Mace wants to pursue a tuition cap and limiting ways that schools add fees to tuition.
On the issue of gun safety, the district representative drafted a bill that she hopes will make background checks much quicker and more effective.
“We have all this disparate data: court systems, counties, municipalities, SLED,” she said. “Nobody wants to share their information with each other. Dylann Roof was able to purchase a gun because all of our data was in different places and the FBI couldn’t do a background check. It shouldn’t take three days. You should be able to pull up criminal data immediately and know if that person is by law allowed to purchase a firearm.”
In addition, she plans to keep her finger on the pulse of what’s happening with state tax reform and affordable healthcare, naming the latter one of her top priorities for the next two years.
Through her first full year in office, Mace said that the most valuable lesson acquired was the value of hard work and forging relationships.
“Everything that I have done in the legislature has been bipartisan,” she claimed. “Having the ability to make your case and get support from both sides of the aisle is imminently important for any legislation that you want to get passed at the state level.”