Mark Sanford holds neighborhood office hours

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (AP/WCIV) - Newly installed U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford is out doing the business of a congressman, meeting and greeting constituents in his South Carolina district.

His first stop was the States Ports Authority. The meeting was closed to media.

"We talked about the nuts and bolts of port deepening and traffic volumes. A sort of quick primer I need to know on anything as we kick off this time in office," he said.

Representative Sanford followed his ports visit with something he calls neighborhood business hours outside a Mount Pleasant Walmart just days after he completed an unlikely political comeback to the U.S. House.

"We did them when I was in congress and when I was governor we want wanted to immediately begin that process again because it's sort of an I'm in the neighborhood if you want to track me down you can.

Sanford has been meeting with constituents one-on-one outside businesses for 20 years to get an idea of what's on their minds. He held such sessions his first time in Congress and, later, when serving as governor by meeting people in his office.

"They can be very important as long as he takes what hears and reacts to it," said Charlie Cole, who showed up at the Walmart to meet Sanford.

Sanford says the meet and greets will become a regular part of his congressional term.

"It goes back to all politics are local. It may be interesting what's going on in Washington, D.C., and might have everything to do with why I ran, but to the lady who was here earlier, what mattered the most to her was what was going to happen to the 41 bridge. Another woman was here in regards to DSS and some children issues," he said.

Sanford said when he is not being the voice in Washington, he promises to be back in his district.

"This is home. This will always be home. The preponderance of my time will be spent in this area or down by Beaufort," he said.

Sanford's political career was briefly sidelined by an extramarital affair four years ago, but earlier this month he won the 1st District seat he held for three terms in the 1990s.

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