PENRY is the Real Deal in 2020
Born May 20, 1970
Married to Todd Gustafson,
CRNA at KershawHealth
Anniversary: August 11, 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) DISTRICT 52 IS A CONSERVATIVE AREA, so why are Democrats representing us?
Kershaw County IS a conservative area that voted for Trump almost 2:1 in 2016. SC is also a "trifecta" state meaning that Republicans lead in the House, the Senate, and as Governor. Serving as a strong Republican woman laser focused on problem solving, I bring to our community something NO Democrat can--- a direct seat at the table.
2) EDUCATION REFORM
Penry promises to support and promote legislation that will:
Fully fund public education
Remove unnecessary teacher requirements
Reduce class size
Eliminate excessive testing and assessments
Focus more on student need and less on teacher training
MORE TEACHING and
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, students, and our proud community. She is brave enough to say and do what needs to be done for this district. Our legislative delegation should be hounding the state to make sure they are funding and supporting their own mandates!!
3) ECONOMIC GROWTH, REDUCED & BALANCED BUDGETS, SC PENSION
Economic growth for Kershaw County and related economic issues represent another top issue in her platform. The state education funding formula must be reformed to undo the harm Act 388 has caused in Kershaw County. Our population growth is moving faster than our business growth; rural areas such as ours were the ones hit hardest by Act 388. POOR legislation.
The state of SC should help counties properly fund their mandates. Penry will make sure this issue doe snot die in the sea of needed education reform.
In the Gustafson household, if the money is not clearly budgeted, it is not spent. The largest budget in South Carolina history was passed in this session. The state’s overall budget could be reduced by proper auditing of all agencies. Only about 10% of state agencies are audited annually--imagine finding the obvious the wasteful spending, jobs that are covered by multiple people, and the efficiency that could be created by annual audits.
THE SC PENSION IS DYING
According to SC State Treasurer Curtis Loftis, the SC pension program is a ticking time bomb, and the general assembly will not take his professional solutions to heart or to a vote.
Using legislation to reduce wasteful spending, keep taxes low, and balance the budget are Penry's top fiscal goals. Penry will work as a true citizen legislator for District 52.
When preparing to run for U.S. Congress in February, 2017, Penry Gustafson made this video, viewed on Facebook & Youtube over 3,500 times.
WATCH IT HERE:
Matthew 20:26. "Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant."
"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."
Penry has been a Republican her whole life and has been voting Republican since 1988. Before considering a political run, Penry became involved with the Kershaw County GOP of SC. Her first political rally was at the State House with Nikki Haley as the guest speaker back in 2008. 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 she chooses to spend her time. Serving as the legislative chair for the Capital City Republican Women's Club, she stays up to date with current legislation. Penry is never shy sharing her thoughts with our legislators or any elected official, and she regularly writes letters, emails, and visits in person.
HOW DID SHE GET TO LIVE BY THOSE GORGEOUS HORSES ON SPRINGDALE? Penry's husband Todd has been working at Kershaw Health as a CRNA for about 15 years. His job brought the family TO Kershaw County. As most of our county's employeed work outside the county, the GUSTAFSONS chose to move INTO the county in February, 2015. Penry and her family truly love living in Bridlewood Farms in Kershaw County!
CONNECTING WITH COMMUNITY AND COUNTRY
In 2017 she 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 a volunteer at Food for the Soul, Penry helps with whatever is needed including fundraising, marketing, and selling sod at the Farmer's Market. Her term on their Board of Directors began in January, 2018.
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.
Penry plans to represent South Carolina as a delegate at the 2020 RNC convention in Charlotte, NC.
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 .
PO Box 601, Camden, SC 29021, United States