September 15, 2009

The Honorable Mark Sanford
The Governor of South Carolina
South Carolina Statehouse
Columbia, SC 29211

Dear Governor Sanford:

After careful consideration, I write to you today asking you to resign as governor.

As I am sure you are aware, I made it known publicly that I have thought you should resign since your admissions on June 24. Since that time, I have purposely not put my request in writing, although I was among those who signed the letter delivered to you by the House Republican Caucus. I have also refrained from making accusations about your activities, except for the ones to which you have already admitted.

As Chairman of the House Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee, my primary legislative focus is business since this committee is truly the “business committee” of the House of Representatives. As LCI chairman, I have spoken with numerous business and industrial leaders across the state and nation as well as a few in foreign countries. In each of these conversations, business leaders have told me that if you continue to serve as governor, it will be a giant impediment to any company locating in our state . To invest and create jobs in a state, businesses need to be confident that the government is running efficiently and productively, rather than being mired in scandal and disarray.

South Carolina’s citizens have a right to expect a governor who can facilitate economic development in order to reduce our high unemployment rate. They also should expect to live in a state where the governor is trustworthy and where job-creating companies can trust the stability of state government. These are two things you definitely owe to the citizens of our state.

As I have weighed the seriousness of your acknowledged actions, I cannot help but be reminded that in a military or civilian position of leadership, dereliction of duty would be grounds for immediate termination. Dereliction of duty is exactly what you committed when you left the country for five days without notifying a proper chain of command or providing a readily operable means of communications with you. You compounded this problem further by allowing your own staff to mislead the public and other officials of the state.

Now, perhaps more than ever, we need a governor who can be completely focused on the issues that matter to South Carolinians such as our high unemployment rate and struggling economy.

We need someone in office who is 100 percent committed to moving our state forward and who does not have serious distractions that get in the way of good and effective leadership.

Ultimately, I believe that your actions continue to be a major distraction, holding our state back from its potential. Especially right now, we simply cannot afford that kind of distraction.

Many of my constituents and people all across our state share my feelings. If I go to the hardware store, the doctor’s office, the barber shop, a convenience store, or restaurant, I am constantly asked the same question – why is Mark Sanford still governor? To be blunt, people are angry that you are remaining in office. South Carolinians are a forgiving people, but we recognize the need for leadership in these challenging days.

I implore you to put our state and its people ahead of your own wishes and to resign the office of Governor of South Carolina. That is the only way for us to begin the healing process. South Carolina has so much opportunity and promise. I ask you to make the honorable choice and to step aside for the good of our beloved state.


Bill Sandifer

CC: Speaker Bobby Harrell
Selected press