Follow the Leader: Bob Inglis
December 12, 2005
A native of Bluffton, SC, Bob Inglis represents the Fourth District of South Carolina in the U.S. House of Representatives. He served from 1993 to 1998, and began his current term again in 2004.
He and his wife, Mary Anne, met while they both attended Duke University. They have five children raging in age from 20 to 9.
SC Headlines asked Congressman Bob Inglis to take a few minutes to answer several, simple questions.
SCH: What type of vehicle do you drive?
BI: Ford Focus Wagon (brand-new-to-me from Lehman’s Service Center for $5,000 with 85,000 miles—a great car at a great price!)
SCH: Do you have any pets (what kind, names)?
BI: Cocker spaniels: Saluda and Madchien; Barn cats: Oliver, Rascal, Tiger; Horses: Dodie, Jade, Wonder, Gus and Buddy; 14 hens and 1 rooster (unnamed as yet).
SCH: Where did you grow up?
BI: Bluffton, South Carolina
SCH: Sum up your childhood in one sentence?
BI: Growing up saw me riding my bike into town meet a friend for a Coke and a moon pie at the Shell station or the Robinowich’s Planter’s Mercantile; exploring the May River with my 3 brothers and one sister and the five boys next door; playing every sport imaginable on my parents 14 acres or on our neighbors’ 17 acres; cutting grass for pay from customers in town and for thanks from my wonderful parents at home; helping my Dad, the Junior Warden, clean the bat droppings from the pews of the Church of the Cross (Episcopal) on Saturday afternoons; living through the beginning of the end of the ravages of separate-but-equal schools; and wondering what it was like beyond what I knew.
SCH: What’s your favorite movie?
BI: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
SCH: Could you share with us one of your most memorable moments in politics?
BI: Sitting in the WSPA studio in the Hyatt in Greenville at 10:59 p.m. on November 3, 1992, with Dave Woodard telling me via phone, “You’ve won”; me responding, “How can you be sure, the votes aren’t in from Union yet”; him saying “Bob, if you’ve lost every vote in Union, you’ve still won”; me telling Tom Crabtree on live air at 11:01 “Yeah, it looks good; can’t be sure yet, but it looks good.” I didn’t want an electronic version of “Dewey Beats Truman.”
SCH: What do you believe to be the most influential book you have ever read?
BI: Kingdom’s in Conflict by Chuck Colson.
SCH: Who would you consider to be your mentor?
BI: As a kid, Ronald Reagan—not that he knew me, but I grew up admiring his clarity, his warmth, his optimism and his sense of humor. Now, my son Robert. He’s good looking, smart, funny, fun—everything that I’d like to be.
SCH: Which historical leader do you try to emulate most?
BI: John Adams (as portrayed in David McCullough’s fabulous biography), because he had in his head and heart the outline of the Constitution even before the Declaration of Independence was written and because he valued above all acclaim the love of a best-friendship marriage.
SCH: Which historical leader fascinates you the most?
BI: Mr. Jefferson, because of the contradictions of his life.
SCH: What are the best characteristics a person can possess?
BI: In hiring staff, a servant’s heart, a leader’s vision and a writer’s pen.
SCH: How would you define success in life?
BI: To quote my daughter Mary Ashton, enjoying what you do and doing it well.
SCH: How would you define success for South Carolina?
BI: Success for South Carolina will come as continual progress toward prosperity through fair opportunity; progress balanced with preservation; and living and active faith.
SCH: What advice do you have for South Carolina’s future leaders?
BI: Do substantive things in substantive ways.