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October 25, 2006 | South Carolina Headlines


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Bauer Would Lead South Carolina Well
Jimmy Moore
January 31, 2003

Last Spring during the Republican primary season, I was especially skeptical and critical about the position of Lt. Governor in South Carolina in an article I wrote called Does Anyone Care About GOP Lt. Governor's Race? I detailed in that article how irrelevant the position of Lt. Governor is based on the limited duties of the officeholder. Some critics made the case that we should care about who holds the office of Lt. Governor because the occupant becomes the leader of the state if the sitting governor dies in office. My response to that was that it has happened only one time in the past 100 years of South Carolina history.

Then came the possible deployment for the newly elected Governor to the Middle East. This puts a whole new spin on the importance of who our Lt. Governor is. Now the person who was elected Lt. Governor becomes vitally important (On a side note, would our Governor comtemplate being deployed if the Lt. Governor was from a different political party? This question is worth discussion.)!

Yet, I don’t think anybody would have ever imagined that the Lt. Governor would be thrust into the job of Governor because the sitting governor would be deployed into active military duty! But that is exactly what Lt. Governor André Bauer is facing as Gov. Mark Sanford pledged this week to be deployed with his Air Force Reserve unit if they are called to action. And, to his credit, Bauer says he is ready to lead this state in Sanford’s absence. I have no doubt in my mind that Lt. Governor André Bauer would lead South Carolina well for however long Gov. Sanford is gone.

Bauer, who at 33 years old is the youngest lieutenant governor in the United States, would be thrust into the limelight a lot sooner than he could have ever imagined if Sanford hands over the responsibility of governing to him in the near future. I don’t think anyone who voted in the November election expected Bauer to step in for Sanford so soon (if ever!). But Sanford has indicated that he is confident in Bauer’s ability to lead South Carolina.

In a letter addressed to Bauer, House Speaker David Wilkins and Sen. Glenn McConnell this week, Sanford reiterated his commitment to fulfill his duty to his country should he be called to action. Regardless of whether Sanford will actually see any action in the war in Iraq or not, Bauer must prepare for the day he becomes the acting governor of South Carolina. It would make him the youngest governor in the United States until Sanford returns. And that day may be coming very soon.

Bauer exclaimed that he will "stand ready to serve him (Sanford) and the citizens of South Carolina any way I can." Although Bauer’s background educationally and occupationally is in business, he has proven to be a dedicated and hard working state Senator for the past three years. He will serve the state well if called upon to be our Governor, even if it is for only a short period of time.

There is a lot to be said for a young leader. There is a vitality and eagerness that is sometimes lacking in the “more experienced” older leaders we have had for so many years. Also, a fresh opportunity for someone who has been given the privilege to show what he can do may be what André Bauer needs to prove to his naysayers that he deserved to be elected Lt. Governor in the first place. To that end, I say go for it, André! I know you will lead South Carolina well. Make the most of it while you are there, but don’t worry. You very well might be sitting there again in 2010 as Sanford’s successor!

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