U.S. Representative Nancy Mace on Politics, Business and Family

South Carolina Representative Nancy Mace shares her thoughts on unity in politics, bolstering local business and balancing work with family.


Air Date: March 31, 2021

Moderator: Neil Bradley, Executive VP and Chief Policy Officer, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Featured Guests: Nancy Mace, U.S. Representative, South Carolina, Bill Miles, President and CEO, Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce

The road to success for U.S. Representative Nancy Mace (SC-01) has been paved by continuous hard work and perseverance. With her position in the House, the freshman congresswoman hopes to reach across the aisle to develop fiscally responsible government policies to support local businesses. In a conversation with Neil Bradley from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Mace shared her insights on unity in politics, bolstering the economy, and the importance of balancing work with family.

From Waffle House to the House of Representatives: Hard Work and Perseverance Pay Off

“My life has been a series of second chances,” Mace said. “I’ve had as much failure as I’ve had success.”

Mace’s journey to becoming a Congresswoman didn’t always seem clear-cut. After dropping out of high school and working as a waitress at a local Waffle House during her junior year, Mace enrolled in college classes to complete her high school diploma. She later went on to be the first female graduate of The Citadel, earning a 3.89 GPA.

“It proved to me that you don’t have to be the smartest person in the room, but you certainly have to be the hardest working,” Mace added.

Practicing Patience and Reaching Across the Aisle to Find Common Ground

According to Mace, the best advice she ever received was the common adage, “patience is a virtue,” adding that this is something she has had to work on over the years.

“That’s true in business [and] that’s true in politics, particularly now, when things are so divisive,” she stressed. “You can’t just walk around and torch everything because you’re never going to build the relationships that you need to be successful.”

“None of us are ever going to agree 100% of the time, but on that 10 or 20% where we can — that’s where we can be really fruitful.”

“There are folks on both sides of the aisle that are desperate to work together … and now’s the time to really do it,” Mace continued. “I don’t care if you’re Republican or Democrat; you don’t want the government to waste or abuse tax dollars.”

Mace Is Focused on Supporting Her District, State, and Country

“We had a really awful start to this Congress at the beginning of January,” Mace admitted. “And despite all those challenges, I ensured that our team was really focused on the district.”

The Congresswoman and her team spent the start of her term meeting with local stakeholders and businesses, as well as those seeking benefits from the VA or unemployment to ensure they received the support they were owed.

“I want to make sure that we achieve something for not just the Lowcountry, but the state of South Carolina with regards to infrastructure issues,” Mace emphasized.

Her top priorities include supporting South Carolina’s large military and veteran population and eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse in the business community.

“[Our focus is on] identifying those ways where we can be helpful, and just working extremely hard on the issues that are important to the district, the state of South Carolina, and the country as a whole too.”

Making Time Is Essential to Balancing Work and Family Priorities

In addition to serving in the House of Representatives, Mace is also a mother of two, juggling the challenges of parenting alongside her own work and personal life.

“[The key is] making sure that those family relationships are healthy and solid, and that you work as a unit together,” advised Mace. “This is hard on anybody, let alone divorced parents, single parents [or] parents that work full-time.”

The Congresswoman also advised that parents deliberately craft time into their schedules for family.

“I try not to do any work on Sundays so that the kids and I can make sure that we have that dedicated family time,” said Mace. “I have to set aside time and put a hold in my calendar … my staff knows that time is untouchable because I can’t get it back.”


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