One of the four House members to sponsor the bill to impeach Governor Mark Sanford for serious misconduct in office, District 14 Representative Mike Pitts of Laurens, Abbeville and Greenwood, explains the bill: “It’s simple. I believe there was a dereliction of duty and it’s the duty of the House of Representatives to pursue impeachment if you believe if that that occurred and I do and I did,” says Pitts.
Pitts says still, when he leaves South Carolina for meetings, often he has to explain the actions of Governor Sanford.
“Yes, he’s hurt us. That action has hurt us. The affair is the issue that most of the public thinks about. They think about the trips to Argentina and the affair that’s been portrayed on the newscasts time and time again, and the governor returning to the podium time and time again to talk about it. But, that’s not the issue with me, what’s the issue to me is that he left a void in the chain of command at the top,” says Pitts.
Pitts say resolution or not, impeachment will take up a lot of time on the House floor regardless.
“I understand that it would create musical chairs at this point, but we are going to be involved in this discussion the entire session whether a resolution is filed or not. It will be the subject of every debate on the House floor,” says Pitts.
As for politics, Pitts says his signing of the bill is not a political move on his part.
“It’s not political, I assure you, on my point, it’s not political. I’ve been a supporter of the governor. And when this first occurred I felt like I would support whatever the governor’s decision was, but each time he took the podium he led me to believe he was not capable of leading this state at that point,” says Pitts.
Governor Sanford is also a military officer in the Air National Guard, and Pitts says the issue wouldn’t have even gone this far if Sanford was in active duty.
“If the governor had done the exact same thing while on active duty, he would’ve been court marshalled and it wouldn’t have taken an ethics investigation to do it, it would have been done. And, why should I hold the governor, the administrative leader of our entire state any less accountable than we would hold the second lieutenant in the U-S Army,” says Pitts.
The session starts back up in January, 51 bills have been filed.