Elizabeth Colbert Busch was back on the campaign trail this week, but this time she was stumping for a Democratic state Senate candidate.
We’ve not heard much her since she gained national attention for taking on former Republican Governor Mark Sanford in the race for the 1st Congressional District. Sanford is back in Washington and Colbert Busch is back at the helm of fundraising for Clemson’s Restoration Institute in Charleston, where we caught up with her.
Ashley Byrd: Are you finished with politics, what’s next?
Colbert Busch: I am going to stay engaged in public service.
Byrd: You were criticized by Democrats outside of the state for being “too conservative” and yet you scared some SC conservatives. So, what is a South Carolina Democrat?
Colbert Busch:I grew up in South Carolina. In my early years I interned for Senator Hollings. This was a time I remember in our history when Senator Hollings and Senator Thurmond gave us balance. I don’t recall as a young woman finding importance of the D or the R behind their name although, I know it was. What I do remember is the true sense that their priority was with the constituent. They were open-minded with each other and worked through differences for the good of the people of our state. We stumble at times but, we haven’t’ fallen. We can catch our balance by the sheer will and commitment to ALL of the people of the SC. Look past the things that divide us and be reasonable with each other. This is true for all areas of our daily lives. A person who is willing to do that is a Democrat .
Byrd: One of your strongest moments in the campaign was in the debate, when you insisted that “Our best days are ahead of us.” In South Carolina, where is that bright future?
Colbert Busch: In South Carolina, our future is bright across the state. It runs from the Upstate through the Pee Dee and into the Lowcountry. Research, innovation, technology and workforce development are key components in meeting industry needs and challenges. Automotive, aeronautics, energy, supply chain management, logistic and cyber security are examples of strategic growth and target markets. With strong R&D component and a commitment to educating SC’s workforce we will keep SC globally competitive to grow and change with industry.
Byrd: Let’s talk about the other famous man in your family – famous in SC and Charleston, that is—- James W. Colbert, Jr., M.D., your father. Charleston Preservation Society will be commemorating the MUSC hospital nurses strike of 1969. How do you feel about your father’s role in that?
Colbert Busch: I am incredibly proud to be his daughter. Dr. Andrew Young, Congressmen John Lewis and James Clyburn speak of my father and the important role he played during the days of the hospital strike. Dr. Young, who negotiated the strike with my father told us Dad was the only administrator willing to meet with him. My father was the newly appointed vice-president of academic affairs at the “Medical College of SC”. We had just arrived in Charleston a few days before the strike. The lesson I learned…. Compromise is so important.
Byrd: If Rep. Mark Sanford were to give you the cardboard cutout of Nancy Pelosi that he used in the race, what would you do with it?
Colbert Busch: I would remind him of this: