I’ve been proud to vote for Republicans for all my life. I believe that our party knows how to balance our budgets, put our fiscal house in order and truly represent the values that made America the greatest country in the world.

And in the special election on May 7, I’m casting my vote for the person who will achieve all those goals: Elizabeth Colbert Busch.

Elizabeth is a Democrat, but I want to assure my Republican friends that shouldn’t stop them from voting for her. She’s a tough, independent businesswoman who has spent her whole career creating good jobs and balancing budgets. Her business experience is at the core of who she is, and I know that — unlike her opponent — we can trust her to represent our values in Washington.

For those of you who don’t know about Elizabeth’s impressive background, let me tell you a bit more about who she is. She started her business career in a field dominated by men — the maritime and shipping industry — and she rose to the top by outselling, outsmarting and outbudgeting her rivals. That takes grit, determination and resolve — all qualities we need to see in Washington.

It’s exactly the kind of experience we need in Washington right now. I know Elizabeth, and I know that she understands that our nation’s fiscal house must be put in order. That’s why she has called for Congress balance our budget, cut our spending and lower taxes for small businesses to create jobs.

I was so encouraged when Elizabeth stood up to those in her own party when the President announced his unimpressive budget. Elizabeth had the courage to speak her mind — opposed that budget — and is instead advocating for a commonsense approach to deficit reduction and growing our economy.

Not only will Elizabeth put our fiscal house in order in Washington, she’ll help our state capitalize on our assets. Her business experience is in an industry that has been instrumental to the growth of the Lowcountry’s economy — and will be critical to our future.

Mark Sanford cannot be trusted to seek the common sense solutions we need to grow our economy.

There is a difference between rhetoric and results. When Mark Sanford was governor, government spending, taxes and debt all went up. He presided over an unemployment rate that was near a record high. He brought down our credit rating and oversaw a 37 percent reduction in traffic at the Port of Charleston.

He also abandoned his post when he was governor and left South Carolina with no thought as to who was in charge of the state.

That’s not leadership and that is not a record of conservative accomplishment.

We have an opportunity to send a message on May 7th. We want our leaders to focus on jobs, the economy and cutting our deficit. The person we send to Washington should be a reflection of our district’s priorities and its values.

Elizabeth Colbert Busch is that person.Her experience as a businesswoman makes her well qualified to represent the 1st district in Congress. She has earned my vote because of her commonsense focus on creating jobs and balancing budget – and I believe she deserves your vote as well.

Leslie Turner is the chair of Republicans for Elizabeth Colbert Busch. An attorney, she lives in Charleston.