Columbia, SC - June 30, 2009 - South Carolina Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler, Senate Finance Chairman Hugh Leatherman, and five other Republican State Senators released the following statement today calling on Governor Mark Sanford to resign his position as Governor of South Carolina. Earlier today Republican State Senators Kevin Bryant (Anderson) and Larry Grooms (Berkeley) also called on Governor Sanford to resign.
"Crisis requires people in leadership positions to act decisively, with as much dispassionate wisdom and judgment as possible.
Governor Sanford has imposed a crisis upon our state. As members of the Senate, we have a duty to the people of South Carolina to do what is in their best interests.
We therefore have concluded that Governor Mark Sanford must resign his office. He has lost the trust of the people and the legislature to lead our state through historically difficult times.
South Carolina has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. Tens of thousands of South Carolinians cannot find jobs.
Necessary budget cuts have weakened public education and other vital services.
We must have strong leadership from a Governor who is focused and trusted.
Governor Sanford is neither.
We did not reach this conclusion in haste and we did not base it on his personal failings, but events since his news conference have forced us to act.
The recent revelation that he used taxpayer money to visit Argentina demonstrates that our state crisis will not recede while he is in office.
His own Commerce Department acknowledges the Governor requested additional economic development meetings in Argentina while on a legitimate trade mission to South America.
The Governor, through his spokesmen, deceived the media and public about where he was and what he was doing for several days.
He abandoned his office and the people who elected him with a premeditated cover-up, launching a constitutional crisis that was dangerous and reckless.
These disclosures indicate a pattern of abuse of office. Most disturbing is our belief that the Governor only admitted to these transgressions after he was caught.
The Governor's family crisis is private and tragic. But the crisis the Governor imposed by his abuse of office is the people's business and must come to an end.
We can only put this crisis behind us if he does the honorable thing and resign immediately.
The bottom line is that the Governor's private matters should remain private, but his deception and negligence make it impossible for us to trust him, and for him to govern in the future."
Harvey S. Peeler
Majority Leader, South Carolina Senate
Hugh K. Leatherman
Chairman, Senate Finance Committee
Thomas C. Alexander
Chairman, General Committee
Paul Campbell, Jr.
Senator, Berkeley County
John M. "Jake" Knotts, Jr
Chairman, Invitation Committee
Larry A. Martin
Chairman, Senate Rules Committee
William H. O'Dell