One of Governor Mark Sanford’s staunchest critics in the General Assembly has been Richland County Democratic Representative Joe Neal. A seasoned South Carolina politician, Neal is also an ordained Baptist minister. Neal says he was shocked by the news of Sanford’s affair with a woman from Argentina. Neal says no matter what your political persuasion may be, this is about a hurting family having to deal with a very personal ordeal in the public eye.
“I think it’s important that all of us realize that we are still dealing with human beings and human lives. I think the media and those of us in the public need to be mindful of that and give this family an opportunity to deal with theses issues without undo intrusion and Unkindness on the part of the public.”Neal says in a situation like this he would hope that people of all persuasions would show there humanity and for a time strip off their political labels and push aside any negative feelings you may harbor against the Governor.
“All too often i think the impulse is the exact opposite, “close in for the kill.” I hope that will not be the impulse here. I think the politics of this will take care of itself in due time. My concern right now is obviously for his family and the state itself.”
Neal says Whether you agree or disagree with his politics, Mark Sanford is the Governor of South Carolina and when the state’s chief executive office is hit with a major problem or scandal, the whole state feels the hurt, the shame.
“We have been through a lot as a state recently, and this simply makes it more painful. I’d like to see this state finished with this period of suffering that we’ve gone through both economically and politically, and now what the Governor is going through. I’d like to see it all behind us.”
Neal says no matter what happens with Sanford’s situation, the state must move on. It must move forward.
Thou The Constitution of the state of South Carolina gives the House of Representatives and the Senate the power to impeach the Governor and remove him from office by a two-thirds vote, Neal says only one person can truly decide if Governor Sanford can still govern effectively.
“I think that is something that he will have to decide whether or not he has enough in the way of authority and credibility and influence to be effective and I think he is the only one who is in a position to mke that call. I don’t think we can in the legislature, I don’t think I can as an individual. I think that is a choice he’ll have to make.”