EDITOR’S NOTE: The Post and Courier will profile all 19 Republican and Democratic 1st Congressional District candidates by the March 19 primaries. This is the second installment.
Birthday: Aug. 5, 1969Education: Bachelor of science from State University of New York-BrockportOccupation: Owns a security consulting firm.Previous offices held: S.C. House (2010-present)Family: Wife Amee, five children.Why I’m running: “I believe in the Lowcountry’s values of strong family, strong community and commitment to passing on a better America to the next generation.”Proudest accomplishment: “Raising, with my wife, our five children.”Contact information: andypatrickforcongress.com; info@andypatrickfor congress.com
BY ROBERT BEHRE
Feb. 17: Deadline to register to vote in the 1st Congressional District primaryMarch 19: Republican and Democratic primariesApril 2: Primary runoff (if needed)May 7: Special election
State Rep. Andy Patrick of Hilton Head Island said he is proud of his work in law enforcement, with the Secret Service and at the Statehouse in Columbia, but none contain the title he cherishes most: Dad.
The father of five is relatively new to politics, at least as far as running for office himself.
As a Secret Service agent he worked to protect President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, but it wasn’t until three years ago that he decided to challenge Richard Chalk, an incumbent House member. Patrick won.
“The greatest job I’ll ever have is being a father. My kids are never going to call me Special Agent Patrick or State Representative Patrick or possibly even Congressman Patrick,” he said. “I’m always going to be their dad.”
Still, he said he believes the broad range of his experiences — with national security, education reform or cutting spending — makes him stand out among candidates in the race.
“I believe I have a message, and I believe that message is sorely needed in Washington, D.C.,” he said. “First and foremost, we can’t have any discussion unless we talk about spending. We only have to look to Europe to see how the foundations of Europe are crumbling.
“I feel the foundations of America are crumbling also, maybe not as rapidly as they are in Europe, but it’s a perfect example of how out-of-control spending will set you on a course ... that is disastrous,” he said.
Patrick said he favors abolishing President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, the U.S. Department of Education and agricultural subsidies. He also favors reducing Pell grants to their 2009 levels.
He said he favors keeping the nation’s promises to its veterans and seniors, “but we need to reform Medicare and Social Security for guys like me (age 43), who have plenty of time left to plan for their retirement.”
As a state lawmaker, Patrick has focused on education, backing bills to expand charter schools and to let home-schooled students participate in public schools’ sports and extracurricular activities.
His own children are now in public schools but also have attended private school and been home-schooled.
He is the only Beaufort County candidate among the 16 Republicans running in the 1st District, which also covers parts of Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton and Dorchester counties.
Beaufort has almost a quarter of the district’s voters, and a strong run there could propel Patrick into the April 2 runoff. But he said he will hold many events in the Charleston area to make himself better known here.
Patrick was the first to meet with a local Republican coffee group hoping to host all the candidates one-on-one.
Mark Smith, a Charleston Republican and a funeral home owner, was there, heard Patrick speak and found him qualified for Congress.
Smith said he still has not made up his mind who to support, but said, “I like the fact that Andy is not part of the establishment and appears to be an independent thinker and not concerned about the repercussions of doing what needs to be done.”