Daily Journal: Sandifer will seek re-election to House seat

By Greg Oliver, greg@dailyjm.com

SENECA – State Rep. Bill Sandifer of Seneca, who has served in the South Carolina General Assembly since 1994 said Monday he will seek a seventh consecutive two-year term. 

Although filing doesn’t officially begin until March, Sandifer told the Daily Journal and the Daily Messenger Monday that he wanted to go ahead and announce his plans. 

“I think it’s best to go ahead and make that decision,” said Sandifer. “I want to continue doing the people’s work.”

Sandifer succeeded Lindsey Graham in the State House when Graham decided to seek the U.S. Third Congressional seat in Congress. Graham served in that capacity until 2004 and was elected to the U.S. Senate that same year to succeed the legendary Strom Thurmond.

When asked what he has learned during his 12 years in Columbia, Sandifer said two things stand out the most.

“One is humility,” said Sandifer. “This is a humbling job when you realize the impact you have on people’s lives and that people have chosen to send me back on those six occasions. Two, I’ve learned how to accomplish things that my constituency wants because, to me, one of the big things is constituent service.”

During his time in office, Sandifer said his proudest accomplishments include tort reform and reforming the Public Service Commission. This year, the Property Tax Reform issue has been the center of attention in Columbia and Sandifer said there are misconceptions that only the wealthiest of individuals are impacted by the issue.

“Many individuals have to borrow money to pay their property taxes,” he said. “If you pay a mortgage on a house, there is a high probability the mortgage company is requiring you to pay in escrow to pay your property taxes and you have to pay by the month because you can’t pay a lump sum.

“I think the property tax has the most impact on the less fortunate than the wealthiest.”

But Sandifer said 80 percent of constituents, responding to a survey he mailed to them, named economic development, including jobs creation, as one of the biggest issues facing the legislature.

“I think the legislature is going to do something in that regard,” said Sandifer, adding that “beefing up” the Department of Commerce is one primary goal. “Being ranked third in the nation in unemployment is unacceptable.”

As far as education is concerned, Sandifer said he would like to see South Carolina’s testing revisited under the federal “No Child Left Behind” law and for the legislature to work on balancing concerns by city and county governments about replacing any revenue that might be lost in property tax revisions.

When asked whether relations between the General Assembly and Gov. Mark Sanford have improved during the past year, Sandifer said he feels the governor has come to understand the relationship more and, therefore, is making more of an effort to work with the legislature.

“I think we now have the groundwork for better relations,” said Sandifer.

“Time will certainly tell how those relations will end up.”

Although he enjoys serving the people, Sandifer admits the job of a state legislator is one that becomes increasingly difficult as the years go by.

But he adds the challenges of the job are things that he thrives on.

“I definitely love doing what I do,” said Sandifer.