NAME: Henry McMaster
PARTY AFFILIATION: Republican
CURRENT HOMETOWN: Columbia
EDUCATION: J.D., University of South Carolina; B.A. University of South Carolina
PROFESSION: South Carolina Attorney General
MARITAL STATUS/CHILDREN: Married to Peggy; two children
POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: South Carolina Attorney General 2003 - Present
HOBBIES: Playing guitar, historical reading
FAVORITE FOOD: South Carolina barbecue -- mustard, vinegar and ketchup-based
PETS: English bulldogs
(word limit per answer: 400 words)
Q. Why are you running for governor?
A. To put South Carolina back on the Path to Prosperity. Not long ago, South Carolina was a national leader in job creation and economic growth. However, in recent years we have not achieved our full potential. South Carolina is blessed with unique assets unmatched by any other state. We have incredibly talented and hardworking people, a wonderful climate, abundant natural resources, a world class port system and popular tourism destinations. What our state needs now is a governor who loves this state and believes in its people. A governor who understands that with the proper vision and executive leadership our state's prospects for the future are bright and unlimited. That's why I'm running for governor.
Q. What separates you from the rest of the candidates?
A. Experience. I've spent my career in public service as a prosecutor, not a politician. As a pro-life, pro-family conservative, I have been guided by strong Christian faith and conservative principles. After four years as President Ronald Reagan's first U.S. Attorney and nearly eight years as attorney general, I have brought people together to achieve positive results for South Carolina, defending our state sovereignty and individual liberty. I worked together in the legislature to pass tough new criminal laws on Internet predators – paving the way for the creation and success of the attorney general's statewide Internet predator task force. To date the task force of over fifty state and local law enforcement agencies has arrested over 188 predators in sting operations before they were able to harm a child. I also worked with legislators to crack down on white collar criminals, domestic abusers, drug dealers, illegal animal fighting and gang violence. When President Obama and Washington radicals passed the unconstitutional healthcare bill, I stood up to them and organized the national fight to overturn ObamaCare.
Q. What is the most important issue facing South Carolina right now? how do you intend to address it?
A. Jobs – saving existing ones and creating new ones. My highest priority as governor will be to usher in a new era of prosperity and economic growth in South Carolina. And I have a plan to do it called the Path to Prosperity (http://www.henrymcmaster.com/pathtoprosperity). We'll grow small business with lower taxes and less regulation. Encourage innovation and recruit high paying jobs in emerging industries. Expand our ports and open our economic door to the world. Improve education with choice, accountability and higher standards. It's time to show the world what South Carolina can do!
Q. What mistake in your life do you hope others, especially young people, will learn from?
A: Understand that your time with family -- your parents -- is precious. Once it's gone, you can never get it back, so treasure it and enjoy it now.
Q. What's your plan to create more stable funding for education?
A. First, restructure our education delivery system. Every South Carolina child must read at grade level by the third grade. Parents must have the opportunities for their children that choice and competition provides. Teachers who meet or exceed goals should be paid and promoted based on merit, free of burdensome red tape and paperwork. And our classrooms must be safe and properly funded.
Second, comprehensive tax reform that makes our tax code flatter, fairer and lower. It will unleash entrepreneurship and economic prosperity and create revenue for the state to fund essential services.
Q. What reforms do you want to make in the way state government operates?
A. Our state government should be as open, transparent, efficient, accountable and responsive as possible. All state spending should be posted online. And legislators should cast votes on the record. We need comprehensive tax reform and we must cut spending. But I will not be distracted by technical issues of structure and trying to gain more power for the chief executive. The Office of the Governor has all the power it needs to grow the economy and create new jobs with better wages. The path to prosperity for our state requires leadership working overtime to unleash the free market and re-ignite South Carolina's greatness. That's what I will do.
Q. (VIEWER SUBMITTED) My wife and I travel S.C., N.C., and GA a lot and we would like to know why S.C. has the worst roads and state parks of all three?
A. To fund essential services, we have to get our economy back on track first. There's no magic pot of money at our disposal for the federal or state government. When we create new jobs, and have South Carolinians earning more money, then revenue for essential services will become stable and funding priorities established. Also, for too long, our congressional delegation has allowed South Carolina to be a donor state for federal taxes. This must stop.
Q. (VIEWER SUBMITTED) If it should come to your desk, would you sign a bill allowing same sex marriage in South Carolina?
A. No, I would veto it. I believe marriage is a union between one man and one woman.
Q. (VIEWER SUBMITTED) What is your plan to bring new jobs to south Carolina? what do you plan to do to alleviate the thousands of people who are out of work, and whose unemployment benefits will soon be running out?
A. Recently I proposed a detailed economic development strategy that will be the number one priority of my administration, which is online at: http://www.HenryMcMaster.com. Called the "Path to Prosperity," it is an energetic and optimistic strategic plan of action that will build on South Carolina's existing assets to launch a new era of prosperity and growth. My plan starts with comprehensive tax reform to make taxes lower, fairer and flatter. The plan also calls for revitalizing our ports system, expanding agribusiness, improving education through choice, accountability and higher standards, staffing Commerce Department with experienced leadership and training our workforce to compete globally.
Q. What's the best thing about living in south Carolina?
A. The wonderful and talented people and the absolute beauty of our natural resources.
Q. What's one thing that voters may not know about you?
A. My favorite band is the Rolling Stones, and I saw them in concert at Williams-Brice Stadium in 1994.
Q. If elected, what is the first thing you'll do once you take office?
A. Announce that South Carolina is open for business and begin comprehensively reforming our tax code to create and recruit jobs.
Q. (VIEWER SUBMITTED) If elected, what form of employment do you plan to pursue after you leave office?
A. Volunteer to aggressively promote South Carolina as the best place in the nation to live and do business.