Public lines up for Governor's first "Open Door After Four" - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Public lines up for Governor's first "Open Door After Four"

(Columbia-AP) Feb. 6, 2003 - Dozens of people got their chance from 4-9pm Wednesday night to speak with Governor Mark Sanford one on one for five minutes about their concerns regarding state government.

Sanford hosted his first ever Open Door After Four, and it's already proven popular. Dozens of people stood on line outside the governor's office Wednesday morning to get on the Open Door After Four list.

Sanford's spokesman Chris Drummond says the signup began at 9:00am, and all appointments were filled for Wednesday night by 9:12am. About 60 people were able to get a face-to-face with Governor Sanford on February 5th.

Roberta Atkins of Lexington got on the list. She was concerned about the state losing money from people not getting business licenses, "We have a lot of people buying at wholesale and selling at retail not paying taxes to the state."

Brenda Merritt was one of the first to sign up, "It personally strikes me at home. I'm a victim of domestic violence, and the resources are not out there."

When Brenda came out of Sanford's office, WIS asked her how things went, "Says he'll give me homework assignments about domestic violence and bring them to the next meeting. Hopefully he'll bring this to the agenda and get some action rolling."

Otto Ray Pierce, a teacher in Hemingway, also waited. He wanted to share his vision for a mall and amusement park that would help pay for public school vocational training, "It would better prepare them for college. If they didn't want to go to college, it would give them skills that are marketable."

Angela Bone talked about increasing penalties for harming guide dogs, "They're valuable medical equipment and tough to train."

After the first Open Door After Four list filled, the governor's office began scheduling appointments for a second session on March 5th, all of which filled by 9:45am. Drummond says the governor has added another evening of appointments on February 19th, which also is full. Sanford will meet with an average of 46 people for about five minutes on all three days.

Sanford has pledged to hold at least one meeting a month while he's in office. He said he would hold public office hours in his State of the State speech. People who want to spend five minutes with Sanford have to sign up at the Governor's Office or have to call 803-734-2100. They will have to bring a photo ID and have their Social Security number.

By Jennifer Miskewicz
Updated 8:08am by Chris Rees

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