COLUMBIA — South Carolina will reopen its Washington, D.C., office that was closed in 2010 to save money during the recession, Gov. Henry McMaster announced at a cabinet meeting Wednesday.
Jordan Marsh, political director for McMaster's 2018 election campaign, will run the Washington office set up to aid state agencies in the nation's capital.
Marsh, a former intern for U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, spent two years as vice president of South Carolina Alliance to Fix Our Roads, an advocacy group that supports increased state highway funding.
He will earn $75,000 a year, the governor's office said. The South Carolina office will rejoin other states as part of the National Governors Association in having a presence in Washington.
McMaster said the office will help South Carolina remain competitive economically. He encouraged state agencies, even those outside his cabinet, to reach out to Marsh, who can help set up appointments or visit federal officials.
"Don't be shy, we're paying for it," McMaster told his cabinet agency directors. "We're going to wear this thing out. There's a lot going on up there."
South Carolina's Washington office was closed by Gov. Mark Sanford as a cost-cutting move. His successor, Nikki Haley, did not reopen the office after the economy improved.
McMaster said he did not know what South Carolina missed by not having a Washington office for nine years but that agencies will benefit from having a state official in the capital.
"We want all of them to have immediate access to everything that's going on in Washington," McMaster said. "That's the place to go."
South Carolina is reopening its state office in Washington during a time when McMaster has an ally in the White House.
As lieutenant governor, McMaster was the first statewide-elected official in the nation to endorse Donald Trump's Republican presidential bid in 2016.