Please send correspondence & contributions to: P.O. Box 601 Camden, South Carolina 29021, United States
Penry Gustafson 2020

Republican with a strong vision to serve and to solve problems


Compelled by growing polarization & ugly politics, 

Penry offers a strong voice for the community.

About Penry



Born May 20, 1970

Columbia, SC

Married to Todd Gustafson,

CRNA at KershawHealth

Anniversary: August 11, 2007


  • William Pope, 22, senior at Clemson University
  • Drew Gustafson, 20, junior at Hampden Sydney College
  • Maggie Gustafson, 20,  at Lander University


  • Timmerman School, 1st-8th grade (1976-1988) 
  • Cardinal Newman School, 9th-12th grade (1984-1988)
  • Newberry College, B.A., Magna Cum Laude (1988-1992)
  • USC-Columbia, Graduate/Ph.D. program, Dept. of Sociology (1992-1994)

Work Experience:  

  • Administrative Assistant, Department of Housing USC-Columbia, 1994-1997
  • Proprietor/Owner, Mig’s of Ninety Six (restaurant owned with ex-husband), 2000-2004
  • Case manager, Richland-Lexington Disabilities and Special Needs Board (Connected adults with special needs with Medicaid services), 2004-2005
  • SC Sales Representative. Delta Foremost Chemical Corporation, 2005-2007

"Born and raised here, I am a lifelong South Carolinian.  Todd and I have been married over 13 years, and we have 3 unique and wonderful children together. The oldest is a senior at Clemson University (Go, Tigers!), and the other two attend Lander University in Greenwood, S.C. and Hampden Sydney College in V.A.  Todd has been a nurse anesthetist (CRNA) at KershawHealth over 15 years. He plays golf if the sun is shining. Scrabble has become a competitive sport for us.  Empty nest syndrome? Nah, not yet-we really do stay quite busy.

I attended Columbia area schools growing up and graduated with honors from Cardinal Newman High School in 1988. I did a little bit of everything in high school including editing the school yearbook and serving as cheerleading captain.  I was honored to have been selected for the prestigious Bobbi Rossi Memorial Scholarship.

My extended educational background is rooted at Newberry College where I attended as a Founders Scholar and graduated second in my class (1992).  My major was sociology with minors in Spanish and Psychology. Newberry College selected me for "Who's Who Among American Universities and Colleges" and also chose me for their annual citizenship award. I served as Student Marshall and student tour guide for prospective students and on several other school wide committees.  An active member of Kappa Delta Sorority, I served in leadership positions on council 3 years out of 4.  The chapter awarded me their highest honor of the Laura Johnson Award and also the scholarship award for the last 2 years in college. While at Newberry College, I was also granted a National KD Scholarship, Theatre Scholarship, Spanish Scholarship, and Founder's Scholarship. A full graduate assistantship in the Department of Sociology at USC (1992-1994) was next on my academic bucket list. I conducted original research on gender role stereotypes in magazine advertisements, while also working with a professor and going to graduate school full time.  During graduate school, I lived at home and helped care for my grandmother who lived with us.

For a brief time I worked for the Department of Housing for USC-Columbia. I was awarded the administrative assistant "Employee of the Year" award for outstanding customer service, work ethic, and presentations given at the SCHOA conference. 

Later professional work includes sales and business. When I was married to my first husband, we purchased an established and successful restaurant.  The restaurant business was not my calling, so I left it behind with the divorce.  Soon I was working as a case manager for Richland/Lexington Special Needs Board, securing Medicaid services for adults.

In 2005, Delta Foremost Chemical Corp. recruited me to work as their S.C. sales representative. Within months I rose to their top 10% earning a placement in their prestigious "President's Club."  I also received their rookie of the year award my first year with them. Traveling (most of SC was my territory) and working with a variety of industries/businesses were the most rewarding parts about being a salesperson.  At that time I was a single mother working on 100% commission (benefits, but NO salary)! For my persistence and hard work, I was awarded a trip to Bermuda and a Bahamas cruise.

Through the years I've also been the caregiver of several family members, arranging and providing whatever has been needed. Since Todd and I have been married, I've been blessed to devote my time entirely to family, church, and community. We both enjoy traveling, local theatre (especially Trustus Theatre and Kershaw Fine Arts), and reading.   In recent years I have rekindled the joy of performance through the Kershaw Fine Arts Center. 'Betty Blast' in Footloose (October, 2016) was my first role in over 25 years!  I also starred as 'Truvy' in Steel Magnolias February, 2017.   My husband and I joined together to perform in You Can't Take It With You in January, 2019, playing a married couple.  We had so much fun that we sang in a musical showcase on May 19, 2019 at the Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County. We continue to engage in the arts locally as schedules permit."

My personal trademarks include being respectfully direct, maintaining a strong personal faith, living a life of character, and serving with passion & compassion.....and the blond hair, of course. 



  • 1) PENRY IS THE NEW CHOICE. DISTRICT 52 IS CLEARLY A CONSERVATIVE AREA, so why is a Democrat representing D52? Easy--when no one else RUNS then there's only one name on the ballot.  There has been no opposition for the incumbent from any party for 5 of 8 campaigns. "Penry Gustafson" on the ballot provides a choice that District 52 has not had in years! Gustafson also offers what the incumbent cannot:  a more strategic and effective position in our Republican led State House. It's time to flip this Democratic seat! These citizens will be best represented by a Republican who can function more efficiently at the State House. Also, this district voted overwhelmingly Republican (2:1) in the 2016 presidential election, reflecting the readiness for new leadership and a new voice.
  • 2) EDUCATION, EDUCATION, EDUCATION. DISTRICT 52 HAS POTENTIAL TO REALLY SHINE IN SC.  We need MORE TEACHING and LESS TESTING! Teachers need better pay. After years of budget cuts by the state, it's time for District 52's voice to be heard.  Penry stands up for teachers, for students, and for this community. She is brave enough to say and do what needs to be done to raise this district to a heights perhaps never seen before.  The state should be supporting their own mandates.  
  • 3) JOBS for ALL/GROWTH FOR DISTRICT 52. Leaders must have a vision that can come to fruition through real action. VisionKershaw 2030 "combines local governance with community participation and long range planning." It's a tool to help us improve educational resources, expand job creation, and better job training for potential workers. Recognizing strengths and weaknesses assists in moving forward positively and impacting our future proactively. Every high school graduate should have a place to go and a plan. Unemployment is thankfully low, but there are thousands of jobs still available in S.C. Penry is committed to expanding technical training and opportunities  and to fill those positions in District 52!
  • 4) ENOUGH ALREADY-HOLDING OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS ACCOUNTABLE. Just how much corruption and mismanagement are we supposed to endure? It is time to find candidates who can hold public interests over special interests. Our state should be led by quality people who will follow the rules. Being held accountable is easier when faced with competition. (Again, the incumbent for District 52 has run mostly unopposed. This is unacceptable and not healthy for good governance.) When Penry Gustafson is elected, she will request a roll call vote at every available opportunity. All legislators should have their stances clearly on the record.  It's time for corruption to end in our State, and it begins now with this election.
  • 5) BRINGING integrity and common sense to our public office. Tired of corruption? Penry, too. Tired of poor decision making? Penry, too. No matter the party affiliation, most agree about the desire to be proud of our elected officials.  Building trust and conveying gratitude are vitally important to Penry. Broadly speaking, she believes character can and SHOULD be relevant again. Supporting common sense legislation, not wasting time or resources, and cutting through regulations are high on her to do list. 
  • 6) ADDRESSING POLARIZATION. Promoting respect among all groups is an ongoing goal for Penry. People have lost their minds! Friendships and potential relations have been lost forever to negative, unproductive exchanges and polarizing views. Penry holds a specific point of view that brings people together. Communities and relationships can be healed requiring listening and remaining calm. (SHOCKER!) This process starts with basic respect for others. Penry plans to continue dialogue and reach out to those of varying views and backgrounds.  "I promise to be a community diplomat advocating on behalf of District 52 citizens, state and county agencies, local organizations, and business."
  •  7)  BEING A VOICE FOR ALL. Gridlock cannot continue to rule our assemblies.  This chronic turmoil is hurting America.  Where is the voice of reason and civility?  Penry Gustafson will strive to be the kind of candidate who appeals to most voters.  She desires to be the voice of the people of District 52 and not just another politician.  Are you looking for a qualified, willing, capable, and passionate servant not bound by special interests? Congratulations, you found her.

AND Lastly....

FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY AND BALANCED BUDGETS. In the Gustafson household, if the money is not clearly budgeted, it is not spent.  Claiming a budget cannot be balanced is disingenuous, and S.C. can do it! Very serious problems in our state need to be addressed now....not put on the back burner or given a temporary band-aid for some "other" elected officials to handle. The state pension program, for example, is a ticking time bomb that will implode if not fixed soon. Using legislation to reduce wasteful spending, keep taxes low, and balancing the budget are Penry's top fiscal goals.

When preparing to run for U.S. Congress in February, 2017, Penry Gustafson made this video, viewed on Facebook & Youtube over 3,500 times.  




Matthew 20:26. "Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant."  


Current Memberships and Associations:

  • Kershaw County GOP, 1st Vice Chair Elect
  • SC Federation of Republican Women
  • Kershaw County Chamber of Commerce
  • First Tuesday Republican Club of the Midlands
  • Food for the Soul: Board of Directors
  • Junior League of Columbia
  • Greenville County Republican Women’s Club
  • Capital City Republican Women’s Club, Legislative Chairman
  • Good Shepherd Lutheran Church: Church Council, Evangelism Chairman (also, lector, communion assistant, adult Sunday school teacher)
  • Parents of Murdered Children
  • Columbia Economics Club

"Leadership and participation in community service are at the heart of who I am.  I served as the coordinator/leader for Operation Inasmuch, a city wide community service event involving 6 churches and Benedict College.  For 6 years I worked with Meals on Wheels, delivering lunches and helping my clients as needed (giving rides, paying their water bills, inviting them to Thanksgiving dinner with my family, etc.).  The time spent on the Thrivent Financial Board of the Midlands was enriching and enlightening.  I've volunteered with many additional organizations including: Transitions, POMC (Parents of Murdered Children), Newberry College Kappa Delta Chapter Advisory Board, H.U.G.S. for the Homeless, Habitat for Humanity, Graceworks, Justice for All, American Red Cross, Food for the Soul, Kershaw Fine Arts Center, Faith Coalition On Gun Violence, Bridlewood Farms HOA, and more." 

POLITICAL INVOLVEMENT. I have been a Republican my whole life, but I struggle with the stereotypes that are sometimes associated with that word---because I've never fit neatly in "one box."  When we first moved to Camden in February of 2015, I was involved with the Kershaw County GOP. My first political rally was at the State House with Nikki Haley as the guest speaker back in 2008 (she wasn't governor back then). The S.C. State Fair, Meet and Greets, Republican Party SC State Convention, SC House Committee meetings, attending seminars and workshops and Kershaw County Council meetings--this is how I spend much of my time now! I enjoy being up to date with current legislation and keeping in contact with our legislators. I often contact our representatives and do not hesitate to share my thoughts through "letters to the editor" in our local papers. Early in 2017, the College of Charleston hosted The Pathway to Politics for Women, and I signed up to learn more about how I can be best elected. The 7th Annual Faith and Freedom BBQ for SC congressman Jeff Duncan on August 28, 2017 was a great opportunity to get to know more people in the Republican Party and across the state. Senator Joni Ernst was the guest speaker, and we were able to speak  privately before the event started-she inspired me!  I also attended a leadership conference sponsored by FACL (Foundation for Applied Conservative Leadership) in September in Greenville, SC where Senator Ted Harvey from Colorado was leading.   

IN THE BEGINNING...?  Ugly politics and the lack of conservative representation in our area originally prompted me to run for office in 2017. In the beginning of my political journey I thought being a fusion candidate would mean reaching a larger variety of people. For a few months in early 2017 I was briefly affiliated with the American Party, but I never left the Republican Party nor would I leave it now.  Boy, have I learned a lot since then!! I'm a proud and solid conservative!

In 2017 I joined the Columbia Economics Club, where regional, national, and global economics is explored through fantastic guest speakers. The last gathering's topic was quantitative easing from 2009 to today, and the speaker was Dr. Gerald Dwyer. Also, I'm a regular volunteer at Food for the Soul here in Camden, SC.  I do whatever is needed-- cleaning, cooking, prepping, serving, etc. My 3 year term with the Board of Directors for Food for the Soul began in January, 2018. 

Current Associations and memberships include Capital City Republican Women's Club, Greenville County Republican Women's Club, SC Federation of Republican Women, Columbia Economics Club, Columbia Junior League, and Food for the Soul Board of Directors, & Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.

My church family is important to me. Being a 4th generation member of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church of Columbia, S.C.,  I serve as a lector, communion assistant, photographer, and substitute Sunday school teacher.  Evangelism, YOGS (Youth of Good Shepherd), & Operation Inasmuch are examples of places I have led and organized within the church. With this busy campaign, my schedule will be tight, but I plan to stay involved."  

In June of 2018 and 2019, Penry represented South Carolina's 5th Congressional District at the United States Global Leadership Coaltion Summit in DC.  Maintaining the International Affairs Budget was the top subject, and she was able to discuss our international embassies and international world relief efforts with SC Congressmen Joe Wilson and Ralph Norman in their DC offices.  Senator Tim Scott also welcomed Penry as he does for his constituents each Wednesday.  Penry is not only committed to the local community, she is committed to America. 

Questions? Comments?

Drop me a line!

Thoughts of the moment

Penry is an optimist who feels any problem or issue in South Carolina can be addressed with integrity, respect, and a level head. What those in S.C. have in common is stronger than what divides! Our national and local leaders need our prayers asking for wisdom, patience, and guidance .

Vote for PENRY GUSTAFSON (R) in 2020

PO Box 601, Camden, SC 29021, United States