Gov. Mark Sanford speaks in Fort Mill - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Gov. Mark Sanford speaks in Fort Mill

FORT MILL, SC (WBTV) - South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford is on a statewide tour stating his case for rejecting $700 million in federal stimulus money that could be used to fund education programs.

No matter where he travels, the Governor is greeted with angry protestors.

On Wednesday, he spoke to the Fort Mill Rotary Club while a small group of protestors waited outside. 

"We need to use these funds we're going to pay them back anyway," said Patricia Celley, one of only four protestors.

During his speech, Sanford gave his usual reasons about why he refused the $700 million in stimulus money.  He used charts and graphs to help people understand why he thinks the money should be used to go to retire the state debt.

"If you won the lottery, most prudent families would set some money aside to pay down their credit cards [and] set some money to pay down their mortgage, and I don't know why if that's prudent for an individual or if that's prudent for a business, why that shouldn't be prudent for a government," Sanford said.

The Governor opened the door for questions from the audience and some of their comments were cordial.

"The money itself would be a help it seems to me, even though I understand what you're trying to do," said one guest.

Other members of the crowd voiced their opposition to the Governor's decision.

"I need better mathematics from any type of plan that tells me why we shouldn't spend that money on education for those children," exclaimed one guest.

No matter what the question, Sanford stayed with his reasoning.

"I would respectfully disagree with that hypothesis," Sanford said.

Fort Mill Superintendent Doctor Keith Callicutt spent last week rallying in Rock Hill and Columbia against Sanford. 

On Wednesday, he had a chance to address the Governor face-to-face.

Sanford, though, didn't really answer Callicutt's question about using the stimulus for school funding.

"I think it shows a willingness on his part to listen," said Callicutt.  "I hope he's hearing what we have to say."

State legislators will try to force the Governor's hand on the stimulus cash by including a measure that adds it to the state budget.

Posted by Jeremy Turnage

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