Representative Mark Sanford, Jr.'s Political Positions

Office: U.S. House (SC) - District 1, Republican
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Mark Sanford, Jr. has provided voters with clear stances on key issues by responding to the 2016 Political Courage Test.

What is the Political Courage Test?

South Carolina Congressional Election 2016 Political Courage Test

Pro-lifeCandidate AnswerDo you generally support pro-choice or pro-life legislation?
Other or expanded principles
YesIn order to balance the budget, do you support reducing defense spending?
NoCandidate AnswerIn order to balance the budget, do you support an income tax increase on any tax bracket?
Other or expanded principles

These questions do not lend themselves to simple less or no answers, as both have to do with the complexity of what it will take to balance our nation's budget. In simple form, all forms of spending should be on the table, rather than the conventional my constituency versus yours. As to taxes, we should certainly look at change - but make sure that the aggregate tax load on Americans does not go up.

YesDo you support the regulation of indirect campaign contributions from corporations and unions?
Other or expanded principles

I worked very hard on this front as Governor because when I came into office one could give unlimited and undisclosed amounts to a political party. We changed this. I believe disclosure to be very important so that an electorate can make informed decisions on why people do as they do in legislative or elected roles.

YesDo you support capital punishment for certain crimes?
YesDo you support alternatives to incarceration for certain non-violent offenders such as mandatory counseling or substance abuse treatment?
NoCandidate AnswerDo you support mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenders?
Other or expanded principles

Alternatives to the individual and societal cost of incarceration I believe to be very important.

NoCandidate AnswerDo you support federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth?
YesCandidate AnswerDo you support lowering taxes as a means of promoting economic growth?
NoDo you support providing tax incentives to businesses for the purpose of job creation?
Other or expanded principles

On the last point, my comments are directed toward federal activity. Whether we like it or not, states have carved out a competitive free-for-all in tax incentives that will prove to be very difficult to disentangle. It's important we not exacerbate this at the federal level.

NoInferred Answer Do you generally support requiring states to adopt federal education standards? View Citations
  • "We continue to believe passionately that a parent ought to be able to decide what school works best for their child, and as a consequence believe in the need for choice in education and market based solutions to education." (
  • "As a Representative for the 1st District of South Carolina, I will oppose Common Core at the federal level." (
Other or expanded principles

Too much state activity is driven by the federal government's modest contribution to education.

YesCandidate AnswerDo you support building the Keystone XL pipeline?
YesCandidate AnswerDo you support government funding for the development of renewable energy (e.g. solar, wind, thermal)?
NoDo you support increased regulations on the hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") industry?
Other or expanded principles

I believe that we want to have as wide a list of options as possible when it comes to energy sources in America. I believe that many of the renewable credits to date have been most inefficient for the taxpayer, but at a philosophic level, this shouldn't rule out every option on that front.

YesDo you believe that human activity is contributing to climate change?
NoCandidate AnswerDo you support the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions?
Other or expanded principles

The problem to date on greenhouse gas emissions, has been the fungible nature of air around the world. Solutions here should be comprehensive and include developing countries like China and India.

NoCandidate AnswerDo you generally support gun-control legislation?
Other or expanded principles

I believe that the 2nd Amendment represents the teeth behind every other Amendment that we enjoy as Americans.

YesCandidate AnswerDo you support repealing the 2010 Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare")?
Other or expanded principles
YesInferred Answer Do you support requiring immigrants who are unlawfully present to return to their country of origin before they are eligible for citizenship? View Citations
  • "We don't need amnesty and we need border security before we look any further into immigration reform." (
  • Signed a letter stating "We write you today to thank you for standing firm and forcing the Senate to act on a Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill that stops President Obama's unlawful executive actions on immigration." (
Other or expanded principles

I believe that the citizenship question clouds many other viable policy options as it relates to a labor force that can be enhanced from Central and Latin America as well as other places around the world.

NoCandidate AnswerDo you support same-sex marriage?
Other or expanded principles

I believe issues like this should be determined state by state as opposed to one size fits all and a federal mandate.

NoInferred Answer Do you support increased American intervention in Iraq and Syria beyond air support? View Citations
  • "I don’t think we should be engaged in war efforts Congress hasn’t taken even the time to vote on, and the President and some in Congress are now relying on authorizations passed in 2001 targeting al Qaeda and 2002 for the invasion of Iraq." (
  • "Last week a federal appeals court declared that the NSA's bulk data collection on American citizens over the past 14 years was illegal. So why is Congress considering a bill that would legalize a program already deemed illegal? Unfortunately, that is what the USA FREEDOM Act does, and I believe codifies a program that violates the Constitution." (
YesShould the U.S use military force in order to prevent governments hostile to the United States from possessing a nuclear weapon?
Other or expanded principles

The issue with terrorism networks is that there is no contained theater of conflict. The incident in Paris or Brussels underscores this.

YesCandidate AnswerDo you support allowing individuals to divert a portion of their Social Security taxes into personal retirement accounts?
Other or expanded principles

At the Supreme Court level, Fleming versus Nester codified the courts decision that none of us have any legal claim to the money we may have contributed over our lifetime to Social Security. It's important that people have personal property rights when it comes to their own retirement savings and personal retirement accounts would ensure this. Furthermore, counties like Madagora or Galveston, that created their own retirement systems for county workers illustrate the ways in which direct stock market risks can be avoided with personal savings accounts.


Indicate what federal spending levels (#1-6) you support for the following general categories. Select one number per category; you can use a number more than once.

Eliminatea) Agriculture
Slightly Decreaseb) Arts
Maintain Statusc) Defense
Slightly Decreased) Education
Slightly Decreasee) Environment
Slightly Decreasef) Homeland Security
Greatly Decreaseg) International aid
Maintain Statush) Medical Research
Maintain Statusi) Scientific Research
Eliminatej) Space exploration
Eliminatek) United Nations
Greatly Decreasel) Welfare
m) Other or expanded categories


Indicate what federal tax levels (#1-6) you support for the following general categories. Select one number per category; you can use a number more than once.

Eliminatea) Capital gains taxes
Greatly Decreaseb) Corporate taxes
Greatly Decreasec) Small business taxes
Maintain Statusd) Excise taxes (alcohol)
Slightly Increasee) Excise taxes (cigarettes)
Maintain Statusf) Excise taxes (transportation fuel)
Greatly Decreaseg) Income taxes (low-income families)
Greatly Decreaseh) Income taxes (middle-income families)
Greatly Decreasei) Income taxes (high-income families)
Eliminatej) Inheritance taxes
Greatly Decreasek) Payroll taxes
l) Other or expanded categories
Please explain in a total of 100 words or less, your top two or three priorities if elected. If they require additional funding for implementation, please explain how you would obtain this funding.

If elected I would want to continue my focus on government spending and competitiveness.

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