EDITOR’S NOTE: The Post and Courier will profile all 18 Republican and Democratic 1st Congressional District candidates by the March 19 primaries. This is the 10th installment.
Elizabeth Colbert Busch
Birthdate: Dec. 10, 1954Education: College of Charleston, concentration in Supply Chain and Logistics Management.Occupation: Director of business development at Clemson University’s Restoration Institute.Previous offices held: NoneFamily: Husband, Claus Busch; three children, three grandchildren.Why I’m running: “To continue to create thousands of good-paying jobs for our community, ensure our children are educated for 21st-century jobs, and fight to preserve Social Security and Medicare.”Proudest accomplishment: “My wonderful family and successfully working with Clemson’s Restoration Institute in Charleston to develop the world’s largest wind-energy facility, creating thousands of jobs in the Lowcountry.”Contact information: (803) 240-5863; firstname.lastname@example.org
BY ROBERT BEHRE
March 19: Republican and Democratic primariesApril 2: Primary runoff (if needed)May 7: Special election
When Elizabeth Colbert Busch thought about running for Congress, she talked it over with her husband, children and siblings, including her famous kid brother.
As a sister of comedian Stephen Colbert, who hosts the Comedy Central show “The Colbert Report,” she understands the media spotlight that their relationship will bring to her campaign for the Lowcountry’s 1st Congressional District seat.
And she’s benefiting from it, at least in terms of raising money, as he hosts a New York fundraiser for her tonight and will host a Charleston fundraiser for her this weekend.
But that’s about it.
“I’m not going on the show,” she said.
At least not unless she were to win the March 19 Democratic primary against perennial candidate Ben Frasier as well as the May 7 election against the eventual GOP nominee. And her brother’s political action committee won’t help either; it has given its money away to three charities.
On the stump, she has talked not about her brother but about her own political awakening, beginning when she was 6 years old.
That’s when her family lived in St. Louis and her mother took her to see the motorcade of presidential hopeful John F. Kennedy pass by.
She also remembers Kennedy’s assassination and those of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy. “These were the years that anchor me,” she said.
She married, had three children, divorced and went to the College of Charleston to study the maritime industry. She then worked as sales director for the large ocean carrier Orient Oversea Container Line.
Five years ago she took a job as development director for Clemson University’s Restoration Institute and worked on developing a wind power facility.
“I’m most proud of the trust I’ve built, a level of trust that I will act in the best interest of my company and my colleagues and that we’re in this together,” she said.
While many of the Republican candidates are focusing on the federal debt, Colbert Busch offers a different message.
“We’re going to talk about job creation. We’re going to talk about education. We’re going to talk about how those combine with each other.”
“If you have a really educated workforce, industry will want to come.”
She said she would protect intensely the nation’s Social Security and Medicare programs, and try to move the discussion toward keeping the benefit levels while reducing duplication and fraud.
Charleston County Democratic Chairman Richard Hricik is among the many prominent Democrats who have lined up behind Colbert Busch.
“She is an accomplished business person. That’s first and foremost,” he said. “She’s not just her comedian brother’s sister and this is some lark.”