Nothing personal, says lawmaker who voted against courthouse name

WASHINGTON — To the one congressman who voted this week against renaming the Sherman federal courthouse, it was nothing personal.

The House on Tuesday voted 402-1 to honor the late Judge Paul Brown by placing his name to the court building on East Pecan Street. The lone dissent was cast by Rep, Mark Sanford, R-S.C.

Sanford just doesn’t believe in naming public works for people, according to his top aide. In 1998 he was one of three Republicans who voted in Congress against adding Ronald Reagan’s name to Washington National Airport.

“The congressman has long felt that naming federal buildings after those in public life is unfair to the multitude of ‘ordinary’ people whose contributions to society are just as valuable, yet infrequently recognized,” Sanford’s chief of staff Jon Kohan said.

“Disproportionately naming buildings after those in one walk of life is a disservice to the many other walks of life necessary in making a town, state or nation function,” Kohan said.

Elected South Carolina governor in 2002, Sanford discouraged the practice of associating the names of public figures to public infrastructure.

In one instance, he vetoed a bill in 2007 that named a new veterans cemetery after M.J. “Dolly” Cooper, a decorated World War II veteran who had been a state legislator and recipient of the Order of the Palmetto, the state’s highest honor.

The legislature overturned the veto. Cooper, who was still alive at the time, attended the dedication of the cemetery named in his honor.