In 2020, Republican Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina’s First Congressional District, edged out Democratic incumbent Rep. Joe Cunningham. He was the first Democrat to flip a House seat in South Carolina in 30 years.

Mace won by just 5,400 votes, or one percent. Then, two years ago, following redistricting, Mace won reelection by 14 percent. Since then, Mace was critical of Trump following the Jan. 6, 2021 MAGA-inspired attack on the U.S. Capitol, but she’s endorsed Trump – despite the many criminal charges against him and despite his conviction for sexually abusing writer E. Jean Carroll in the 1990s.

Now, attorney Mac Deford is one of two Democrats running in the June 11 SC primary for the chance to oppose Mace in November. His opponent in the primary is business executive Michael Moore.

We’re pleased to have Deford with us on the Lean to the Left podcast. Here are questions we discussed with Mac:

Q. Late last month a federal court ruled that the South Carolina elections will be held under a map already deemed unconstitutional and discriminatory against Black voters by the same three-judge panel that found that the state used race as a proxy for partisan affiliation, a violation of the 14th amendment to the Constitution. Your thoughts about that.

Q. You’re an attorney, a former Coast Guard Police Officer, and you’ve worked for a software company. You’ve also served as an attorney for Mount Pleasant and Hilton Head Island. If you should win the election, how would this experience inform your service in the House of Representatives?

Q. What are your thoughts about Congresswoman Mace supporting Trump after criticizing him for the Jan. 6 insurrection?

Q. What are your top priorities for Congressional action in the next two years?

Q. Your district, District 1, is dependent on tourism, sensitive to climate issues, in need of affordable housing. It’s comprised of varied communities with different needs. If elected, how will you deal with those issues and meet those needs?

Q. How will you address the challenges of healthcare accessibility and affordability?

Q. How do you plan to engage with and represent underrepresented or marginalized groups in our district? 

Q. Trump and the Republicans are talking about Social Security and Medicare cuts. Your thoughts?

Q. Where do you stand on the issue of reproductive rights?

Q. What about immigration?
Q. Many voters are frustrated by the inability of Congress to pass legislation in recent years. Some members, including numerous Republicans, are leaving Congress because of their frustration. Why do you believe it will be any different for you?

Q. Why did you decide to take on this challenge? South Carolina isn’t exactly Democrat friendly!

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Show Notes

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Show Transcript

Mac Deford: SC Congressional Candidate Bucks the Odds

[00:00:00] Bob Gatty: In 2020, Republican Representative Nancy Mace of South Carolina's 1st Congressional District etched out Democratic incumbent Representative Joe Cunningham, the first Democrat to flip a House seat in South Carolina in 30 years. Mace won by just 5, 400 votes. Or 1%. Then two years ago, following redistricting, Mace won reelection by 14%.

[00:00:27] Since then, she was critical of Trump following the January 6, 2021 MAGA inspired attack on the U. S. Capitol. She's endorsed Trump despite the many criminal charges against him. And despite his conviction for sexually abusing. Writer E. Jean Carroll in the 1990s. Now, attorney Mack Deford is one of two Democrats running in the primary June 11 for the chance to oppose Mace in November.

[00:00:58] His opponent in the primary is business executive Michael Moore, and we're pleased to have Deford with us on the Lean to the Left Podcast today. Welcome, Mac. 

[00:01:10] Mac Deford: Hey, Bob. It's great to be here. Thank you.

[00:01:12] Bob Gatty: Last month a federal court ruled that the South Carolina elections will be held under a map already deemed unconstitutional and discriminatory against black voters by the same three judge panel that found the state used race as a proxy for partisan affiliation, which is a violation of the Constitution, the 14th Amendment of the Constitution. Matt, what are your thoughts about that? 

[00:01:40] Mac Deford: Bob as Martin Luther King once said, justice delayed is justice denied. And the U. S. Supreme Court has had plenty of time to evaluate this case. They heard oral arguments on October the 11th.

[00:01:54] I was actually up in D. C. I got in and was actually able to observe oral arguments in person. And, I just think it's blatantly ridiculous as to how long this has taken. I think it's a huge disservice and an injustice that we're going to be running under the current lines.

[00:02:11] That being said while I am disappointed and dismayed that the injustice will not be addressed by the U. S. Supreme Court in time, we were preparing for this and our campaign is really centered around the current lines. We have the ability to adjust if necessary, but we have been, running with the understanding that we would probably be running under the current lines.

[00:02:34] Bob Gatty: Is is it really a racial issue, do you think, that's going on here? 

[00:02:38] Mac Deford: 100%. If you look at the case, and I'll, just if you look at it from the 30, 000 foot view, the Republican led state legislator wanted to take all of Berkeley and Beaufort counties into the first congressional district because they figured that those are better performing Republican counties.

[00:02:56] And so in doing so, they then look to the Charleston County portion and they decided that their own studies told them essentially that they had to have an African American population, Charleston County portion of about 17 percent, in order to get the Republican tilt that they were after. Their own studies showed that was the only way they could get that Republican tilt and they ended up reducing the African American population down to roughly 17 point, I think, four or 5%, so somewhere around there. But effectively cutting 30, 000 African Americans out of the first district. The state's defense is basically yes, we had access to that, those studies that we commissioned but we didn't use race in determining the lines.

[00:03:40] And I think that when your own studies say that the only way you can achieve a result is by cutting out. Certain groups of voters based on the color of their skin, and then you actually do that. It's a no brainer. 

[00:03:51] Bob Gatty: Okay. Now, you're an attorney you spent some time in the Coast Guard as a police officer, and you've worked for a software company.

[00:04:00] You've served as an attorney for Mount Pleasant and Hilton Head Island. If you should win the election, how would these experiences inform your service in the House? I

[00:04:12] Mac Deford: think in many different ways. My time in the Coast Guard, I was yes, a Coast Guard police officer in Baltimore, Maryland.

[00:04:18] I was also a federal law enforcement officer at Coast Guard Station Charleston. I'm the only candidate in this entire race on both sides that's ever defended a border, our maritime borders. And part of my job was to board the container ships coming into the port, search them for drugs and other illegal contraband as well as enforcing our nation's immigration laws.

[00:04:37] So I've been on the front lines of that and I understand what's at stake there. Also enforcing our environmental laws on the water, which is another thing that the Coast Guard does that I had a direct responsibility for as a boarding officer. And then I would also say, my, my time working for local government as an attorney.

[00:04:55] I was the number two attorney for the town of Mount Pleasant, and I was the general counsel for the town of Hilton Head Island. So I've worked on a lot of the issues that we have issues with now that we need help with from our congressional representative. Whether that's affordable housing, where I'm actively working on behalf of the town of Hilton Head Island to bring a workforce housing solution to the island right now.

[00:05:18] I've worked on road and bridge projects, I've crafted and advised on environmental legislation, and I've actually gone to bat against the federal government to secure federal funds for projects like beach renourishment, which are so critical to protecting our environment but also to controlling flooding in the region.

[00:05:39] Bob Gatty: Yeah, that's really important, especially for your district. And that also brings up the thought about flooding and flood control and abatement and all of that. That's a big deal for you too, right? 

[00:05:53] Mac Deford: Absolutely. We are in a district, Downtown Charleston is not, not in the district because of the way they gerrymandered this district.

[00:06:01] But we have places in the district that at a high tide and there's a full moon, the streets may flood. So we have to really look at, how can our natural environment protect us from Flooding, which is when I talk about beach renourishment and marsh restoration projects, our marshes have such a critical role in controlling flooding and also to cleaning our waterways but also making sure that we're investing in infrastructure to, to mitigate flooding both from storms, but also the flooding that we see on a more, regular basis.

[00:06:36] Bob Gatty: Yeah, Matt I was just thinking that. Under the Biden administration, we've got this new infrastructure package that was passed. Will any of that help with what you're trying to do there in your district? 

[00:06:54] Mac Deford: Absolutely. The, the bipartisan infrastructure bill was a tremendous accomplishment for the Biden Harris administration.

[00:07:05] Unfortunately, our congressional representative, the incumbent Nancy Mace, voted no for that bill, although she took credit for it when the money came in 

[00:07:15] Bob Gatty: that's typical, isn't it? 

[00:07:17] Mac Deford: Yeah. And I think that's really disingenuous. She claims that she would have fought for more funding, she never proposed that as an amendment when the bill was being debated anyone can point out a problem, but you have to bring forward a solution if you're serving up there in Congress but yeah, absolutely.

[00:07:32] We have bridges in the district that need to be replaced. We have, I think about the 278 bridge that gets you to Hilton Head. That needs to be replaced. I have actually worked on that project for the town of Hilton Head Island working with the counterparts at the Department of Transportation, the federal highway administration and Beaufort County but we have other bridges that need to be replaced. And, let's face it here in South Carolina, we're not known for the quality of our roadways. And we have a lot of roads that need a lot of updating and investment in our district. 

[00:08:05] Bob Gatty: All right, you brought up Congresswoman Mace what are your thoughts about her supporting Trump after she criticized him for the January 6th insurrection?

[00:08:15] Mac Deford: Unfortunately I'm not surprised that she is supporting Donald Trump. I think it's ironic that Donald Trump endorsed her opponent last year, and Nikki Haley endorsed Nancy Mace last, I'm sorry, not last year, but last cycle. And then now we have Donald Trump endorsing Nancy Mace, and Nancy Mace endorsing Donald Trump.

[00:08:37] I've always thought Nancy Mace is going to do what's best for her and not best for the low country, not best for the people that she represents. Which, I think is evidenced by the fact that this is the only congressional district in South Carolina that rejected Donald Trump in the Republican presidential primary.

[00:08:53] Every single other district voted for Donald Trump in the Republican primary. That is a significant point to make to voters in this election. 

[00:09:04] Bob Gatty: So if you were to win, what would it take? 

[00:09:06] Mac Deford: First and foremost we have to get Democrats or people that are likely to vote Democrat. Out to vote, get them energized to vote.

[00:09:14] And so I've spent, I announced, I filed to run with the FEC last year, last April, actually. And, we've been at it since really since around mid April and May, so we've been going out, especially in the communities that have been left behind communities that, that really need that level of investment that that, They just have been totally neglected.

[00:09:37] But also you absolutely need crossover support. So I've, have intentionally reached out to your moderate Republicans and, targeting those voters that probably voted for Nikki Haley, for example, in the presidential primary, and we've received a lot of support, not just people saying, I'm not going to support Nancy Mace or I'm done with Nancy Mace, but people that are unsolicited, they are emailing and sending letters of support to our campaign. Voicing their support. They're also sending in monetary contributions, donations to our campaign, and we've received donations from former Nancy Mace donors as well. I think those are all significant indications that we could flip the House this year.

[00:10:24] But I think it's also a sign that people they're looking for a representative that's not going to just, toe the party line. They're looking for someone that is actually in tune to what's going on here in the district and that is actually going to take an active role in addressing the challenges that we face.

[00:10:39] Bob Gatty: Mac, what would be your priorities for congressional action in the next couple of years if you managed to pull this out? 

[00:10:46] Mac Deford: The first thing that I think Congress must do, the 119th Congress when it is sworn in January, is codify Roe v. Wade. And I believe that, morally we should not be controlling other people's bodies, women's decisions to make and in controlling their path hood to motherhood.

[00:11:07] It's also an issue that my family was personally impacted by. And in 1960 my grandmother was 31 years old and she was the mother of eight she was the wife of a bridge welder and they were Catholic and when she became pregnant with her ninth child. Her husband fell and could no longer work.

[00:11:27] And they really just could not financially afford to bring on another child. They were living in a small kind of row house in Wilmington, Delaware. Three bedroom with eight kids and and one bathroom. And so they could not bring on a ninth child. Given their circumstances, and ultimately, my grandmother made the decision to seek an abortion, but in 1960, she couldn't get a safe legal procedure, so she obtained a backroom procedure, and unfortunately, she died two weeks later on February 5th, 1960.

[00:12:01] And, if that's not bad enough that a young woman, I'm 35 years old, she was four years younger than I am now but, a father or a husband lost his wife. Eight, eight children lost their mother. My mother was five and a half years old at the time and her death. And because of my grandfather's disability, my, the family unit was broken up by the state.

[00:12:27] And my mother was sent into a broken foster care system where she suffered abuse for several years until she was finally adopted. I don't take seriously the politicians up in Columbia and other state houses across the country that have enacted these extreme abortion bans that say that they're pro life, but, they are the same, this is the same mentality that, that attributed to my grandmother's death.

[00:12:50] It attributed to my grandfather losing his wife and it attributed to my family being broken up. And it changed the entire trajectory. 

[00:12:57] Bob Gatty: You do have some personal reasons to be concerned about that. That's for sure. Now, what else besides Roe v. Wade would be on your hit parade that you would want to deal with?

[00:13:11] Mac Deford: Yeah. Yeah I feel very strongly and we talked about it a little bit earlier, but the investment in our infrastructure is critical right now because the thing with infrastructure is that it takes a long time to, to implement, right? Because you have to secure the funding. We even have projects that are approved, but they're not funded.

[00:13:37] But it's absolutely critical that you secure the funding. It does take time. So we really don't have any time to waste when it comes to affordable housing, for example. My wife and I, we live in Mount Pleasant. We're both lawyers. If we were to sell our townhome. We would have a difficult time finding a place to live in Mount Pleasant because of how unaffordable it has become.

[00:13:57] We have, and that's not unique to Mount Pleasant, that's all over the 1st District, and it's not even just unique to the 1st District it's all over the state. And that impacts everyone. Whether or not you are wealthy if you can't afford to live where you work and work where you live, That impacts services that are being delivered emergency services, it impacts the economy, it impacts the small business owners, and I absolutely think that we have to invest in affordable housing in terms of infrastructure, and then again, making sure that our transit infrastructure is resilient against climate change, but also the storms that we see flooding, but also that we have public transit.

[00:14:37] I think that as this region continues to grow, we have to think about how many vehicles are on the roadways and are there public transportation solutions that can be implemented that can alleviate the congestion that we see all throughout the low country. 

[00:14:55] Bob Gatty: Now, your district is dependent on tourism certainly sensitive to climate issues, which you've mentioned.

[00:15:03] And you mentioned the need for affordable hou housing. How would you deal with these issues and meet those needs, Mac, if you managed to win? 

[00:15:15] Mac Deford: Yeah, I, again I think that we have to look at the economy of the region and you're absolutely right, This is a big tourism economy here in the low country.

[00:15:25] We also though have communities that support other types of industries. Right up the road, we have Boeing and we have employees from Boeing or Volvo or Mercedes Benz, where they're making the sprinter vans. We have military bases. We have the Air Force, the Navy the Marines down in Beaufort, and in over the next five or so years the Coast Guard base here in Charleston is poised to become the largest U. S. Coast Guard installation in the entire United States. And so we have to have places for these people to live. And so I think, Making sure that, housing needs are being addressed. It's not just rental housing units, but it's also, homes for ownership.

[00:16:10] A big contributor to the, skyrocketing home prices is the fact that you have these big corporations that are buying up the housing stock and they are artificially inflating the prices when they flip the homes, they rent them out and then they sell them at an inflated price. And so I'm a big proponent that because they are, in effect causing or helping to cause this crisis with affordability that they should be paying into a housing trust to allow certain families to be able to draw from to put down as a down payment for housing for home ownership. 

[00:16:46] Bob Gatty: That's a creative idea, one that I've not heard before. Is that? 

[00:16:51] Mac Deford: I will not take credit in, in its novelcy but I will say that it's something that, hasn't taken a lot of traction, but, there are some multi county housing trust funds that have been established that counties and municipalities will pitch into, but I do think that, rather than expecting just the, these counties and municipalities, which ultimately are the taxpayers to be paying for this, that we need to hold these corporations accountable that are causing this by, artificially inflating the market.

[00:17:25] And it's not to say that we don't want a business to be profitable, but you are, I'm saying you, as in the, these corporations, you are causing part of the problem, if not a lot of the problem, and therefore you should pay into a trust so that people can draw from that to put, make a down payment for a home.

[00:17:43] Because, for most of us, for me my, my most, valuable asset financially, is my home and that's the way it is for many people. So it's about providing rental solutions but also homeownership solutions as well when it comes to affordable housing.

[00:18:01] Bob Gatty: Let's talk a little bit about healthcare and healthcare accessibility and affordability.

[00:18:07] Mac Deford: Absolutely. A huge proponent and an advocate that health care is a or ought to be a universal basic right. I don't think that in the United States that it's acceptable that you have some people that can afford health care and others who can't and those who can't will live less healthier lives and also may not be able to afford to get the treatments that they need to live a quality life.

[00:18:33] Unfortunately, South Carolina is a state where the state legislator refused to expand Medicaid. That impacts well over 100, 000 individuals here in South Carolina that could, be receiving health care through Medicaid expansion. And so I think that is very unfortunate.

[00:18:53] In terms of, accessibility, I can tell you, I've worked on projects down in Beaufort County, for example, where, We're trying to bring health care facilities to areas that have shortages of health care workers. And we have a lot of rural communities in the 1st Congressional District.

[00:19:10] And so they also need some attention when it comes to being able to access health care. Whether that is through transportation solutions to get them to and from their doctor's appointments through the continued investment of broadband internet so that they can access telehealth services and then actually having health care facilities in their communities, whether that's through satellite offices or just more hospitals in general and also being able to recruit and retain health care workers.

[00:19:39] It goes to the affordable housing part, too. There are health care providers that, you know, for example, down on Hilton head, they have a huge shortage at the hospital down there. There's only one hospital on the Island and they cannot recruit nurses to start at 80, 85, 000 a year because they cannot afford to live on the Island or even in that general region.

[00:20:03] And they can, get a comparable job somewhere else and be able to live somewhere more affordable elsewhere. That's another part of it to being able to support accessibility. Is through providing housing but then also, as we've seen with the current administration with capping, the prices of insulin I think that we need to continue to allow the federal government to negotiate prescription drug rates. One of the, one of the biggest or I shouldn't say the biggest, but one significant driver between prescription drug prices is you have these pharmacy benefit managers that are negotiating these prices for prescriptions, but in many times, these PBMs are actually owned by the insurance companies. So you have the insurance companies negotiating these prices, and really through this middleman the pharmacy benefits managers, and it's really not a good situation for the end user being the patient.

[00:21:02] Bob Gatty: A little bit of a conflict of interest there, right? 

[00:21:06] Mac Deford: A hundred percent. 

[00:21:08] Bob Gatty: Okay. How do you plan to engage with and represent underrepresented or marginalized groups in your district?

[00:21:18] Mac Deford: I think there are definitely some initiatives that can be taken to, to help underrepresented, and marginalized citizens in our district. One big issue that I have had some experience working on is heirs property. You have a lot of African American families that their descendants were formerly enslaved people.

[00:21:40] And after the civil war and the union army came in and basically gave the land to, to the former slaves, there was no documentation of this. And so over time, that has really caused a problem where now you have maybe, a family's, elder who is, the land's been in their family for, ever since the Civil War and they pass away and you can't identify easily who all may have an interest in that land. And so it really ties up a lot of problems for these families. And it's very costly to try to expect them to have to pay for this out of pocket to find a lawyer to navigate that process. Can be quite costly. So one of the things I worked on was down in Hilton Head that establish a community development corporation.

[00:22:31] It's called the Gullah Geechee Historic Neighborhoods Community Development Corporation. And it's, we were able to obtain 5 million in seed funding. And What it is designed to do is promote Gullah Geechee entrepreneurship offer other programs of that sort, but it also is intended to provide legal resources or funding for legal resources for those communities that are dealing with heirs property. That's, I think a big way. Another is you have a lot of what are referred to as as donut holes in South Carolina, where you have an area within a county or within a municipality that's not actually in the municipality.

[00:23:14] It's still technically in the county. For example. If you've ever been in a community or for any of your listeners, live in a community where your neighbor may use county trash, but you have the city's trash those are the donut holes I'm talking about. And the problem there for some communities is that they don't have the ability to hook up to sewage.

[00:23:35] So they're using septic tanks. Okay. And that can be very harmful for the environment because if they're not well maintained, as we've seen on in certain waterways like Shem Creek and Mount Pleasant can be really bad for the environment. So also providing resources to make sure that we're upgrading folks so that they can get off septic tanks and get connected to sewer and also get connected to clean water.

[00:23:58] I have visited communities here in this district that they tell me they don't have access to clean water. They cannot drink the water that comes out of their tap. That is unacceptable. You know that should not be the case here in 2024 in the United States. And so 

[00:24:14] Bob Gatty: why is that Mac, why is it 

[00:24:16] Mac Deford: a lack of infrastructure to and clean water treatment plants in certain ar in certain areas?

[00:24:23] Okay, so this particular area is in northern Berkeley County that I went to. And yeah, they cannot they don't drink their water that comes out of their tap. Is what they're telling me there. They have other issues like, roads, paved roads that turn into dirt roads, and they're just unfinished and just because you're a rural community doesn't mean that, that you shouldn't get the same level of basic investment that other communities get 

[00:24:47] Bob Gatty: other brand broadband issues also for those folks. 

[00:24:52] Mac Deford: Oh, absolutely. Yeah. Broadband issues. Cell coverage. That is one thing that the Biden administration has been successful in. And they are actively implementing that is bringing broadband to, all of South Carolina. It's still being implemented, but we need to continue in that because today's day and age, if you don't have access to. To the internet, you are left out of society. You can work from home now on the internet. You can access health care services through telehealth.

[00:25:22] You can, take classes. So those are, it is so important for people to be connected to the internet. And if you have communities that are not, you're really leaving them out of our society. 

[00:25:33] Bob Gatty: Yeah. All right, so a lot of the folks that you would represent would be Social Security recipients and Medicare beneficiaries, correct?

[00:25:46] Mac Deford: Yes. 

[00:25:48] Bob Gatty: What are your thoughts about the, the efforts by some Republicans and I guess Trump to either cut benefits or raise the retirement age. What are your thoughts about that? I, I know that at some point something has to happen in order to avoid the automatic I don't know, is it a 20 percent cut that will happen in several years if the trust fund isn't solidified?

[00:26:15] But what would, what's your idea about that? 

[00:26:19] Mac Deford: Look, I believe that Social Security, Medicare, those are programs that, those are promised To us. Okay. You, the government says you're going to, you're going to pay into social security. You're going to pay into Medicare. And in return, when you hit a certain age, you're going to have that benefit.

[00:26:35] Yep. And so to turn around and say now we're going to, talk about cutting it, which we're They do all the time. That's just a breach of the pact of government, government that we have here is, between society and forming government. And they say that cutting social programs like this that are intended to help people is how we can, continue to pay for certain things.

[00:26:57] And I just think that's a total sham. Look, there is no reason why somebody making a hundred and sixty some thousand dollars a year should be paying the same amount in the Social Security that a billionaire is. So I think that we need to move the cap up. Much a lot and it's not to say that we need to you know, outrageously tax the ultra wealthy I have no issue with someone who you know, enjoys the fruits of their labor, but they should be paying their fair share and then you know when it comes to medicare, I mean Look, we are more than halfway through The retirement age of the baby boomer cohort generation the current financial structure underpinning Medicare right now is not equipped to deal with, a doubling essentially of that population.

[00:27:50] And so we have to get really serious about how we're going to continue to fund it. And I think, it's going to take some pretty massive legislative actions to buy us even just another 20 or 30 years, but again, we have to start now, and I think that a lot of some of the savings could be in, fraud, waste and abuse there is nearly a trillion dollars a year loss to fraud, waste and abuse.

[00:28:15] A lot of that, I think, talk about AI and that's a whole different topic in and of itself, but, artificial intelligence could be a very powerful tool in reducing broad waste and abuse. As well as streamlining, different administrative processes.

[00:28:30] And whatnot. We have to be very careful on how AI is, further developed and integrated into our society. But I think that's an investment worth making. Because, if we can reduce the cost in health care we, can figure out more targeted ways in which we're sending that money.

[00:28:50] And it's not just being thrown away. When we can save it. 

[00:28:54] Bob Gatty: Okay. Now, another hot button issue that is currently the heart of the presidential campaign, is immigration. And it's been that since, before Trump, and it was exacerbated, I think, by his determination to build that wall. And his hateful rhetoric against against brown people. What are your thoughts about that general topic about immigration and what needs to be done? Also I think the question would need to include the idea of of busing undocumented. immigrants into certain areas. The Republicans are now claiming that's happening right here in, in South Carolina.

[00:29:44] What are your, what's your, it's a big question, but what's your thought, what are your thoughts about that, Mac?

[00:29:50] Mac Deford: First and foremost, the image, in my opinion, of America Is not a giant wall. It's the Statue of Liberty. This is not a country I mean look when we think of when I think about walls I think about things like the berlin wall that went up and what that was a symbol of oppression of Distress and the united states fought, through you know within the cold war to bring that wall down Yeah And so we should not be talking about building a wall as, the same as, we should not be anti immigration.

[00:30:25] We are a nation of immigrants. Most of us our descendants, we are descendants of immigrants. Yeah. So that is, I think something that sort of mentality that sort of the ultra right has pushed that we should be, shut the border down.

[00:30:42] It's it's one thing to say you want to have legal. Immigration. You want to have a secure border. I support a secure border. I'm the only candidate in this race who has defended a border. Our maritime borders and I know exactly the dangers that, illegal immigration poses not just to us here in the United States in terms of the associated activities that go on with illegal immigration drug proliferation, but also how dangerous it is for the individuals that are trying to come to the United States, many of whom don't make it especially when they're trying to come over through our maritime borders.

[00:31:20] There's, we can't even be very accurate to say how many perish on their journey here because they're in makeshift vessels that, that you wouldn't even want to take into a retention pond, let alone the ocean. Yeah. And think that look, we do need to secure our border and make sure that people are coming in through lawful ways.

[00:31:41] But I also think that back to something that actually President Eisenhower once said that the best investment we can make is in foreign foreign economies. There's a reason people are trying to come to the United States and Troves. They're not leaving their homes in Mexico and South America because They have a perfect or, a wonderful situation.

[00:32:02] They are leaving very dangerous, very deteriorating circumstances to come here to try to make a better living. And I think that we need to find ways to work with our neighbors on the other side of the border to see how the global community can help their economies but also to work with them to make sure that they are also not allowing people to cross their borders to just come here in large troves illegally, but at the same time, for those people that want to come here to contribute to our society, they want to come and have a, take a, have a shot at the American dream. I'm all for that.

[00:32:39] We look at the Francis Scott Key Bridge. When I was in the Coast Guard I, the Coast Guard base I was the police officer at. It was basically right at the base of that bridge. All of the individuals who died on the bridge, they were all immigrants. Yeah. They were all working on the bridge.

[00:32:57] Yeah. They were doing jobs that other people were not doing. And all this talk about we're gonna, we're gonna, deport tens of millions of immigrants, we're going to tear people, families apart. These are human beings at the end of the day. And if we get all, remove all the political layers of all this, and we look at these for the most part, immigrants that are here they just want to work.

[00:33:22] They're contributing to our society. They're doing jobs that a lot of us don't want to do. And why are we trying to punish that? Yes, have a secure border, get serious about stopping the proliferation of drugs into our country and also the proliferation of guns from our country to Mexico and to South America, but also do so in a way that's not going to distort the very image of America being the Statue of Liberty because if we go the other direction and build the wall, I think we'll become a tyrannical nation.

[00:33:55] Bob Gatty: I think that immigration is an example of why so many people are frustrated with Congress and Congress's inability to deal with issues like that. Do you agree with that? 

[00:34:12] Mac Deford: Absolutely. You had a Senator Lankford and a group of senators proposed a bipartisan albeit very conservative border security bill.

[00:34:25] And look, would it have solved all the problems? No. But would it have helped significantly? Probably. And so what really aggravates me about how everything, unfolded with that and Donald Trump basically, telling the house, absolutely do not. Go for this bill. We don't want to give Joe Biden a win, in a presidential election year and you had Nancy Mace jumping on that bandwagon.

[00:34:54] And my problem with that is. If you don't like something about the bill, call it out specifically and propose an alternative because anyone can point out a problem, but your job is to legislate and to find solutions to problems. So if you're unhappy with something that was in the bill, propose an alternative, don't just kill it.

[00:35:16] I share the frustration that many people have, and this is a can that's been kicked back and forth. And look I'm, I won't be coy here. I hold my own party, Democrats, accountable just as much. This should have been addressed at the beginning of Joe Biden's term.

[00:35:32] Yeah, sure. And we're dealing with it now. I think that more could have been done. But we're, we are where we are now. And at the end of the day Republicans had an opportunity to do something meaningful. When it came to border security they ultimately decided not to, and they chose party politics over serving the American people.

[00:35:57] Bob Gatty: Why did you're 35 years old, you told me, right? 

[00:36:00] Mac Deford: That's right. 

[00:36:02] Bob Gatty: So you're a young lawyer you got a family. You got a family, right?

[00:36:07] Mac Deford: I do, yes. Yeah. 

[00:36:09] Bob Gatty: Including two dogs. Two yellow labs. Which I want to point out, because they're great dogs. Okay. Why did you decide to do this? Why did you decide that you're going to take time, effort, money, energy out of your life to And run for Congress, when so many people are fed up and leaving.

[00:36:33] Mac Deford: Yeah, I am fed up with Congress, and I would say that's why I want to go in, because 

[00:36:39] Bob Gatty: Oh, you're fed up, so you want to go in because you're fed up? 

[00:36:42] Mac Deford: I'm fed up with the level of unseriousness that we see up there. See people going into Congress that they really have selfish pursuits that they're after, and that is not what the job is about.

[00:36:54] I've been in public service really since, since I graduated high school when I enlisted in the U. S. Coast Guard. And, to me, being in public service is about serving the greater good. It's not about how can I You know elevate my national image on tv Or how can I get more, likes on twitter or something like that?

[00:37:16] You know your measure of success ought to be You know how many people can afford to live in their communities now, how many people are still struggling? Do we have communities in the first district that Lack access to clean water.? I doubt Nancy Mace has been up there to Northern Berkeley County in a while to even meet with these community leaders and so it's it's that level of unseriousness that really concerns me.

[00:37:42] You know as a member of congress you have a small share of the national responsibility in determining the course that our country is going to move in but then you have a very significant amount of responsibility and influence over your local district. And so I'm concerned both by how Nancy Mace has how she has treated her small share of the national responsibility.

[00:38:08] Voting against funding for Ukraine , voting against women's rights and not just on the abortion issue, but on equal pay, which remains a critical issue in this country as she's voted against, the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would have helped to narrow The pay inequality gap that exists in our country.

[00:38:26] But also to her inattention here in the low country, she's really done little, very little for us here, and we need something serious. And then I would just say too quickly. Again, at 35, I'm a millennial. My generation is represented by only 12 percent in the House of Representatives, so we don't need all the seats at the table, but I think we can have a few more seats at the table to bring fresh perspectives and ideas and to compliment the experienced members that are up there that have been doing it for a while to have that intersection of wisdom and new energy.

[00:39:01] Bob Gatty: Have you given any thought, Mac, to how long you would stay there? And what you would do after that? 

[00:39:09] Mac Deford: I have no idea what I would do after that, but I can tell you that I do not want to make a career out of being a U. S. Congressman. I am a supporter of term limits.

[00:39:19] I don't know what those term limits would look like, but I do think that It's not good for the country when you have these sort of long serving political dynasties. They become more like royalty than they are public servants, and I think that's bad. But I, again, I think the measure of success would be or, how long I'd want to stay is, I want to codify Roe v. Wade, I want to make sure that our district has access to affordable housing, I want to reaffirm our country standing on the world stage and make sure that our allies know that we're going to be there for them and that we're not going to pull out of NATO. I want to be there to make sure that if Donald Trump is reelected, that if we can flip the House, that the House of Representatives and hopefully we keep the Senate, that the United States Congress as a whole will be a bulwark of defense against Donald Trump.

[00:40:14] If I can accomplish those things and address the needs of a low country and faithfully carry out my small share of the national responsibility. In, in a few terms or so I think I will have done my job. 

[00:40:28] Bob Gatty: Okay. Thank you, Mac. Have you got anything else that you'd like to add? 

[00:40:34] Mac Deford: No, I think that's it, Bob.

[00:40:36] I really appreciate the opportunity. 

[00:40:38] Bob Gatty: Oh, thank you. I enjoyed talking to you .

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