EDITOR’S NOTE: The Post and Courier plans to profile all 18 Republican and Democratic 1st Congressional District candidates by the March 19 primaries. This is the ninth installment.
March 19: Republican and Democratic primariesApril 2: Primary runoff (if needed)May 7: Special election
BY ROBERT BEHRE
onlineFor more, go to postand courier.com/first-district.
Birth date: Dec. 26, 1975.Education: University of Richmond, B.A.; University of Virginia School of Law, J.D.Occupation: Chief operating officer of Solitical.com; adjunct professor at The Citadel and Charleston School of Law; Captain, Air Force Reserve.Previous offices held: None.Family: Single.Why I’m running: “To ensure that we fulfill commitments to our military members, veterans and their families. To ensure that the future opportunities of our children are not lost to unpayable debts.”Proudest accomplishment: “Finishing officer training and JAG school after leaving the White House. At that point in my life no one expected me to begin a military career in the Air Force.”Contact information: 580-6474; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.HoffmanForSC.Com.
Jonathan Hoffman has not run for elected office before, but he is no stranger to the nation’s capital.
The 37-year-old lawyer served as the deputy assistant secretary of Homeland Security and the director of International Programs and Border Security Policy in the White House. Before that, he served as an advisor to the secretary of Homeland Security and as deputy general counsel to the 2004 G8 Summit Planning Organization.
It’s this experience that he believes sets him apart in the Republicans’ 16-way 1st Congressional District primary.
“I’m the only person in the race who is a non-career politician who has had success accomplishing things in Washington,” he said. “There are only two people in this race who served in Washington, and I will put my record of accomplishment up against Gov. (Mark) Sanford’s any day.”
Hoffman’s positions were political, and he lost them when President George W. Bush left office.
After that, he moved to Charleston with his girlfriend and has juggled three jobs: as an adjunct professor at both The Citadel and the Charleston School of Law, an Air Force Reserve captain and an entrepreneur with Solitical, a social political network.
With his work experience, Hoffman may know more about immigration than anyone else in the race, and he said he was disappointed when Bush’s immigration plan fell apart.
Still, he said, “I don’t think immigration is the top issue for people in this district. The No. 1 issue has to be the economy. The first issue should be tax and regulatory reform.”
Hoffman said he would start with tax reform, figure out how much revenue the nation has and then start prioritizing. As for the $16 trillion debt, he said, “Entitlement reform has to happen to address the debt and deficit.”
He said he would protect the benefits on tap for those 50 and older and would look at increasing the retirement age, reducing the cost of living and reining in the costs of “Obamacare.”
“The more government you have,” he said, “the more inclination the government has to tell people how to live their lives.”
Hoffman wrote the initial legislation for Operation Jump Start, a plan to put 6,000 U.S. troops along the Mexican border, though he notes many others contributed.
“It gave the American people a sense their government was taking the issue seriously and acting on it,” he said.
Former Pennsylvania Gov. and U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge threw his support behind Hoffman this week, praising his “discerning judgment.”
“Jonathan is prepared to quickly get to work because he not only understands the issues but in many cases worked on the policies themselves,” Ridge said. “There is no substitute in Washington for integrity, candor and initiative. Jonathan Hoffman personifies all of these characteristics.”