Governor Mark Sanford delighted students at Dutch Fork High School on Wednesday by meeting with Kelly Payne’s Current Issues Class (known more recently as the “It Kids” ). Governor Sanford fielded several questions from students and shared his vision for the future of the state.

Mrs. Payne’s class has turned into a “must visit” for elected officials this year as her students are always keeping a watchful eye on the actions at the State House.

Sanford’s visit capped a long list of public figures who visited the class this year. Other speakers included Education Superintendent Jim Rex, Attorney General Henry McMaster, Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom, House Speaker Bobby Harrell, House Minority Leader Harry Ott, Representatives Gilda Cobb-Hunter, Anton Gunn, James Smith, Nathan Ballentine and Nikki Haley, SLED Chief Reggie Lloyd, and other state politicos.

“Bringing leaders like these into the classroom has given my students the rare chance to meet and interact with some of the most powerful people in the state,” Payne explained.

“We’ve been looking forward all school year to having the governor visit,” said Payne. “Whether or not you share his stand on all issues, you’ve certainly got to admire the unflinching courage of his convictions. And his comfortable use of facts and logic to explain his stands really impressed my students. It meant so much to them that he took the time from his busy schedule to speak to them.”

Almost 100 students packed the room to hear from the state’s Chief Executive Officer. Rebecca VanMeter and Nathan Bell were the lucky students to greet the Governor at the front office and walked him to Mrs. Payne’s class where he discussed major world civilizations such as the Roman Empire, Byzantine Empire, the Greeks and creation of democracy, the Ottoman Empire….and their declines. He referenced The Truth About Tytler : democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury.

Students were obviously thrilled to have the Governor take time to visit and he made an impression by illustrating how much of the taxpayer’s money goes to the government. True to form, he also used a chart for illustration during his visit; but this time it was one he drew on the board.

Sanford taking time to meet with our state’s future leaders did not get lost on these bright students. Many said they couldn’t believe how approachable he was and how he seemed like a “normal guy” who believes in doing what he feels is right based on principles.

On behalf of Dutch Fork High School, thanks Governor for the visit to our community!