Politics & Government

Sanford to give final State of the State address tonight

Governor Sanford of South Carolina admitted he had an affair.
Governor Sanford of South Carolina admitted he had an affair. Erik Campos/The State/MCT

Gov. Mark Sanford entered office in 2003 with a long to-do list of reforms, restructuring and other changes — all laid out in his first State of the State speech.

Sanford delivers his final State of the State tonight with limited time left in office and politically limited after a bruising, unsuccessful fight over accepting federal stimulus money and the admission of an extramarital affair last year.

As a result, said spokesman Ben Fox, this year's State of the State will have limited goals.

Sanford will not release his speech until just prior to delivering it, but in speeches to civic groups the past several months — most recently to the Business and Industry Political Education Committee last week — Sanford has focused on three goals for his final year in office:

— Employment Security Commission reform, making it a Cabinet agency. S.C. businesses likely will have to repay $1 billion in federal unemployment benefits loans, and Sanford said the agency should be more accountable.

— Limiting state budget growth by imposing a cap on spending, preventing deep budget cuts when revenues flag

— Restructuring government to be more efficient, including creating a Department of Administration

Sanford will also likely touch on his five-day June disappearance and later admission of an extramarital affair, possibly reiterating an apology delivered in public and private for months.

"We want to focus on those rifle shots," Fox said of Sanford's three goals. Sanford has a rare opportunity, Fox said, given the poor economy and the progress of some of his proposals in the Legislature.

To read the complete article, visit www.thestate.com.

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