CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Rep.-Elect Nancy Mace said she had a dream, set goals, worked hard and achieved it, becoming the first Republican woman elected to Congress in the state of South Carolina.
“I never would have thought that this is what I would be doing 25 years ago when I dropped out of high school at the age of 17 and was waiting tables at Waffle House on College Park Road,” she said. “I’m just deeply, deeply humbled from folks here in the Lowcountry.”
Mace said she knew when she took on incumbent freshman Rep. Joe Cunningham that she would face a tight race.
“But nothing beats the value of hard work, and we got out there and built a really strong grassroots organization and talked to voters directly. And in fact, in the last week of the race, I knocked on thousands of doors in every part of the district to make sure that that they had a voice and, and I had was able to listen to what their needs and concerns were.”
To the voters who sided with Cunningham, she had a simple message.
“From day one, my message to the folks who did not vote for me on Tuesday or in early voting was that I was asking for a chance, starting today, to prove to you that I will be a good listener and that I will be an independent thinker, and that I’ll be a compassionate leader.”
Mace said that during her time as a state lawmaker, she has always reached across the aisle to work with members of the Democratic Party even when there was a Republican-controlled House in the General Assembly.
“I just feel it’s really important to find ways, find measures, find areas where we can agree to get something done,” she said. “And right now, we’ve got to do the same thing in Congress. For four years now and actually, for longer than that we’ve allowed our disagreements to cause great division. And that’s not only what’s going on in DC, it’s trickled down into our neighborhoods or communities, our churches our places of business, and our neighbors and everything and so we’ve got to start rebuilding our nation now and we don’t need to rely on the government, our government leaders to do that.”
Mace said she is fiscally conservative, values that “resonate with the voters on both sides of the aisle.” She said that as a lawmaker, she fought for conservation efforts to ban offshore drilling and get more solar energy and will continue those conservation efforts in Congress.
She also said she intends to work on transportation and infrastructure. Mace said she would love to have a seat on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
She also wants to make healthcare a priority.
“I want to make sure that people with pre existing conditions are covered and protected, no matter what happens to Obamacare,” she said.
Mace also said there should be another round of stimulus for those who have been “gravely affected” by the coronavirus pandemic. But she said it should be “a clean bill” without additional measures added in that had nothing to do with proving support to small businesses and working families.
She also spoke about the presidential race in which vote counting continues with no winner declared.
“I think most people, no matter what side of the aisle that you’re on right now, they want to ensure the integrity of the election, that every vote gets counted, that there is transparency,” she said. “Members of both parties should be able to observe ballots being counted or recounted in some cases. And so I think it’s really important that we preserve that integrity that every vote gets counted whether that takes a day, now we’re three days into it, a week or a few weeks, we’ve got to make sure that happens.”
She said the most importantly, she wants people to be confident in the results of the election, no matter what they are.
Cunningham, whom Mace defeated Tuesday with 51% of the vote, conceded the race Friday morning, holding a news conference on the steps of the U.S. Custom House in downtown Charleston, the same place he announced his campaign three years ago.
“She is my representative for the Lowcountry, and I am rooting for her success as we confront significant challenges that we’re facing right now,” Cunningham said of Mace, vowing to do “anything and everything to assist” Mace in her transition.