Congressman Mark Sanford makes stops in Lowcountry - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Congressman Mark Sanford makes stops in Lowcountry

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)

South Carolina Congressman Mark Sanford made several stops in Beaufort County Tuesday during the Congressional recess period.

Rep. Sanford says it's important for him to be meeting his constituents where they are, and that’s exactly what he did hosting at a town hall-styled meeting in Sun City. 

It was standing room only in the pavilion as the private adult community as folks came out to hear from the Congressman. The crowd of more than 150 came full of energy and questions, asking Sanford about his stance on several issues. This is the eighth town hall held by Sanford this year. It was also part of several stops he made Tuesday in Beaufort County. He also hosted coffee and lunch events in Hilton Head and Bluffton, followed by open walk-in hours at his Beaufort office.

“The congressman is the only game in town. He's our representative. And it's pure and simple a matter of politically engaging the congressman with the community,” said Lowcountry Immigration Coalition Chair, George Kanuck.

Much of the town hall meeting focused on health care. Several audience members stood up to ask the congressman about his stance on the Republicans' plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. Sanford explained his and Senator Rand Paul's bill - the Obamacare Replacement Act - which they introduced earlier this year.

When asked if everyone should have access to health care, he was met with controversy when he told the crowd he believes health care is an individual choice. 

"The Affordable Care Act, one could argue, made affordable insurance illegal. I mean, based on the essential benefits, it raised the cost for everybody. A lot of young people looked at that package of benefits and said, 'I don't need all that stuff,' and so they said, 'I'll take the penalty rather than signing up for the plan.' What we did was to say, 'no, let's take that away. You decide for you what are essential benefits,' Representative Sanford said. 

He also addressed several issues surrounding President Trump's proposed policies, including his stance against cutting funding for the Environmental Protection Agency.

He also spoke about his plan to continue to ask the President to release his tax returns. Something he told the crowd he had done when he was running for Governor of South Carolina.

And the last big issue he addressed was immigration. Rep. Sanford says he doesn't see any comprehensive reform happening within the next four years. But he supports implementing a guest worker program as the first step towards it.

"Well, I think they're important. I still have my questions I want to ask him, and I never get them in, but there will be a day,” said Betty Hintz, a Bluffton resident.

"Our voice counts. Which also is very important to the people, and they have to start listening to the people,” said Arthur Broska, a resident of Sun City.

Rep. Sanford says that he plans to continue to hold these town hall-style meetings so he can keep reaching his constituents.

No word yet on when the next one will be in Beaufort County. 

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