Rep.-Elect Nancy Mace (R-S.C.), 42, is not taking anything for granted. Having defeated first-term incumbent Democrat Joe Cunningham in her state’s 1st Congressional District race—flipping the district back to red on November 3—she understands she has serious responsibilities ahead on behalf of those who sent her to Washington. And she’s promised to work in a bipartisan fashion to get things done for the American people while not compromising her principles as a conservative Republican.
“Hey everyone, just landed at the Capital,” she said in a charming and forthright video that she posted on Twitter on November 12. “I’m not going to lie. I actually got a little emotional as the wheels of the plane touched down on landing in D.C.,” she continued, speaking directly into the camera.
Mace added that she felt “just overwhelmed with positive emotion on the great responsibility I have. And am just very thankful, grateful, and humbled by the voters that sent me here.”
“I’m here in D.C. for freshman orientation, and just overwhelmed by everything,” she also said in the video. “This has been 42 years in the making—to see how far I’ve come from dropping out of school at the age of 17, to my first job as a waitress, at the Waffle House, to becoming the first woman to graduate from The Citadel.” And now, she also noted, her “dream” has “come true” of reaching the halls of Congress after “so much hard work, after blood, sweat, and tears.”
“I just love each and everyone one of you,” she added to constituents, “and I’m ready to get to work. Thank you!”
Mace joins a number of other GOP women who won critical House races on November 3. Since 2018, she has served in the South Carolina House of Representatives, and with her win on November 3, she becomes only the second woman ever to hold a congressional House seat from the Palmetto State.
Back in June, when she won her GOP primary race—and was enthusiastically endorsed by President Donald Trump—Mace said in a statement, “I insisted on running a positive campaign about the voters and their issues and why I was the best candidate to represent them. I’m proud to say we did it.”
She noted that her Democrat opponent voted “with [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi 85 percent of the time. That is not what most of the Lowcountry believes or deserves … I have a message for my opponent, for Speaker Pelosi, for the National Democrat Party. I’m coming for you. We are coming for you. We are going to take back this seat for the Lowcountry.” (Her district reaches from Hilton Head to mid-coastal South Carolina; it comprises parts of Charleston, Berkeley, Dorchester, and Beaufort counties.)
Mace has a number of goals on her list as a representative-elect. Among them is to be “a good listener,” as she told Jewish Insider in a recent interview. “My door is always going to be open for those voters that were not with us in the general election. I’m just asking for a chance to prove that I will be a good listener, that I will be an independent thinker and a compassionate leader.”
She is a “staunch supporter” of Trump’s approach to Israel and the Middle East,” as JI also noted; she said she hopes to visit Israel during her first term. “Charleston and the 1st Congressional District [have] a strong Jewish community and I think it’s very important that I learn as much as I can and that I express and show that support in every way possible,” she told the outlet.
Mace said another top priority is helping small businesses that have been hurt by this year’s coronavirus pandemic. “Over half of all new jobs in South Carolina’s first Congressional District are created by small businesses and I want to make sure that the policies that I work on and vote on [are] going to support the small businesses,” Mace shared with her state’s Live 5 News.
Mace is a single mom of two children, ages 13 and 11. She “earned accolades as one of the most fiscally conservative members of the [South Carolina] General Assembly; she’s also one of the most pro-conservation lawmakers in the state with a 100 percent rating with Conservation Voters of South Carolina,” as the bio on her campaign website notes.
“We must safeguard our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” she also believes. “It was no accident that our Founders listed life as the first of our God-given rights. I’m pro-life and believe we should defend life and liberty from conception to natural death. As a mom of two children, this is an especially important issue, to protect life.”
Maureen Mackey is a writer and editor in the New York City area.