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Nancy Mace (R)

Rep. Nancy Mace considers herself a different kind of Republican. She’s taken some unorthodox positions like pushing for cannabis legalization. She also wants government out of the way of small business.

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Charleston Population

Mace's South Carolina district spans Charleston and the Lowcountry

Charleston City Budget

$252 Million
FY 2023

State Unemployment Rate

As of December 2022

Fortune 500 Companies



First Elected to Congress

Rep. Nancy Mace wants to boost small businesses by easing federal rules

Rep. Nancy Mace wants the federal government out of the way for small business

Rep. Nancy Mace likes to say she’s a different kind of Republican.

The South Carolina lawmaker roasts Republicans nearly as often as she does Democrats; supports abortion rights and cannabis legislation; and blames both parties for the bloated federal debt.

“I would put myself in the limited government category – maybe small-L libertarian, even,” Mace told Punchbowl News.

But one area where Mace has a more conventional GOP view? Her ardent support for small business policy on the Hill.

“Every state is different, and the economic drivers for every state's economy are different.” Nancy Mace South Carolina Rep. | R

The two-term lawmaker represents a sometimes-swing district in South Carolina’s lowcountry. Her district, which includes parts of Charleston, plays a key role as a port city and longtime manufacturing center – home to Boeing factories and Mercedes-Benz plants – as well as a fast-growing hub for innovation.

“There’s biotech, fintech – all these really great medical technology companies popping up all over the place,” Mace said. “And there are investors here that entrepreneurs can go to and find funding for some of their opportunities, their startups.”

Mace, who previously served in the South Carolina House of Representatives, said small businesses are crucial in the recovery from the economic malaise caused by COVID-19. 

She is especially sympathetic to the pandemic-induced hiring difficulties that small companies are grappling with right now, saying that policy tweaks to support them are more important than ever. 

“To see that – to see the vast majority of jobs being created by small businesses is pretty amazing,” Mace said.

‘Unintended consequences’

Mace said clunky federal policy can hurt a state’s small businesses. 

“Every state is different, and the economic drivers for every state’s economy are different,” Mace said. “The problem with federal government is that you will enact these policies, but sometimes we don’t think about the unintended consequences.”

“Both sides have underscored the necessity for us to clean house of people who are going to continue to espouse and promote these economic policies that are really going to put our nation in peril.” Nancy Mace South Carolina Rep. | R

Consider a professional hair-and-makeup artist, Mace said. It’s a job that can offer a promising career to a non-college graduate, particularly in a city like Charleston, whose landscape is the backdrop for a surprising number of films.

“Hair and makeup is a really good gig. They make really good day rates,” she added. “But the cost of being qualified, going through and getting a cosmetology degree – it can cost you upwards of $30,000, and that was pre-COVID dollars.”  

Mace blames those prohibitive costs on the “unintended consequences” of federal policy in education, taxation and beyond.

Cannabis reform is a ‘no-brainer’ for small business

Another element of Mace’s advocacy around small business policy is a bit more outside the mainstream for Republicans, at least for now. She’s pushing for federal cannabis reform, which she calls “a no-brainer” as more and more states legalize the substance for different uses.  

It’s personal for Mace. She said cannabis helped her recover after experiencing a traumatic sexual assault as a teenager. “Cannabis as a plant and as medicine saved my life,” Mace said.

And while attitudes towards cannabis have changed significantly in recent years among both Republicans and Democrats, elected GOP members of Congress have been slow to come around.

That could change, however, if more Republicans think about cannabis as a small business issue. 

“It’s already happening. You’re not going to reverse all these laws that are changing state by state,” Mace said. “We have to have, at the federal level, a framework that recognizes that and can allow these small businesses to be successful.”

‘Both sides’ to blame for inflation

Mace is sensitive to inflation and the role she said that federal spending under both the Trump and Biden administrations has played in fueling it. 

“I blame Republicans and Democrats alike for the economic calamity that we’re in right now,” Mace said. “We have $31 trillion in debt right now; $8 trillion of that was just from the last administration, $5 trillion of that in the first two years of the current administration can be attributed to that.”

Mace argues for targeting the national debt through reduced spending or getting regulations out of the way. She said too many of her colleagues have decried spending increases but voted for some anyways.

“Both sides have underscored the necessity for us to clean house of people who are going to continue to espouse and promote these economic policies that are really going to put our nation in peril,” Mace said.

— Brendan Pedersen

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