Feb. 17: Deadline to register to vote in the 1st Congressional District primaryMarch 19: Republican and Democratic primariesApril 2: Primary runoff (if needed)May 7: Special election
EDITOR’S NOTE: The Post and Courier plans to profile all 19 Republican and Democratic 1st Congressional District candidates by the March 19 primaries. This is the third installment.
Birthday: Jan. 7, 1959Education: University of South Carolina, B.S.Occupation: Reliability and process improvement engineer with Fluor.Previous offices held: None.Family: Wife Jennifer, one daughter.Why I’m running: “I want to be more than just a good conservative. We need leadership towards a Congress that will put politics aside and work together to acknowledge and solve our nation’s problems.”Proudest accomplishment: “Together, my wife and I have raised an amazing daughter, with such a beautiful heart and a wonderful spirit that lifts up those around her.”Contact information: (843) 810-6122; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.ricbryantforcongress.com
BY ROBERT BEHRE
Most Republican 1st Congressional District candidates are expected to appear at 9 a.m. today at Kelly’s BBQ, 10475 U.S. Highway 78 in Summerville.Republican candidates also have been invited to address the Charleston County GOP at 7 p.m. Monday in North Charleston City Hall.Both parties’ candidates also have been invited to a Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce breakfast at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, at 170 Lockwood Blvd. in Charleston.
Ric Bryant of Hanahan knows he’s a long shot in the 1st Congressional District race.
A reliability and process engineer who never has sought office before, Bryant considered running for Congress when U.S. Rep. Henry Brown retired in 2010, but he didn’t.
This year, when the seat became vacant again as U.S. Rep. Tim Scott was tapped to fill former Jim DeMint’s Senate seat, Bryant jumped.
“I’m in it because I believe in my message, and I hope some people will agree with me.”
That message is that Bryant is a sort of anti-politician, a self-described “solid conservative” but one who is less interested in partisan warfare and more interested in using his experience to reduce the national debt.
Bryant said his engineering experience includes working with bankrupt steel makers, energy giants and other business concerns looking to streamline what they do to become more efficient and safe.
“I’m not very interested in the politics of everything, the politics and the partisanship” he said. “That has to get out of the way when you’re working down to solutions. That becomes a distraction.”
Bryant said he believes Republicans and Democrats have much more in common than not, adding, “I think right now the whole process seems to focus on our differences rather than our similarities.”
He said the national debt doesn’t require a big sudden fix but incremental steps in the right direction.
“We can’t cut too much right away,” he said. “There has to be a gradual phasing to get where we want to go. If we’re moving in the right direction, time works for us.”
Bryant grew up as an “Air Force brat” and settled in the Charleston area in 1982, shortly after getting his engineering degree from the University of South Carolina.
His closest brush with the federal government came during his first 14 years at work, where he did a lot of contractual work for the U.S. Navy.
After cutting the deficit, Bryant is most interested in what can be done to strengthen communities, particularly steps that would lower crime and abortion rates.
While he has no specifics in mind, he said, “We have to support programs that make our community a better place. Every issue is tied to the community.”
His campaign is being run by his wife Jennifer, and Bryant said life is complicated these days because he is running while continuing to work.
Even if he doesn’t win, he will have a sense of satisfaction knowing that he tried.
“I know I can contribute,” he said, adding that he most wants to serve to get the nation back on the right fiscal track so his daughter and other children won’t look back at this time and ask their parents, “What did you guys do?”
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