Part 2 of 2.
Yesterday Elizabeth Colbert Busch talked about her life before entering politics.
While 16 Republicans were slamming each other night and day for the right to be the nominee for the First Congressional District, Elizabeth Colbert Busch was introducing herself to voters, raising money and honing her platform. Those are some of the benefits of essentially running unopposed. Running unopposed is also an exceptionally rare circumstance for a political newcomer like Colbert Busch. More often, such candidates have to learn the nuances of policy on the fly.
For the first two-and-a-half months of her candidacy Colbert Busch was technically on vacation from her job with Clemson, but she doesn’t appear to have garnered too much beach time. She’s been fine-tuning her policy points.
Given her background, it is no surprise the core of Colbert Busch’s platform is job creation and education. As a Democrat in a Republican-majority district, she’s attempting to intercept charges from the GOP that she’ll be a tax-and-spend liberal in the Nancy Pelosi-mode by making it clear she’s a fiscal conservative.
Under that umbrella, the emphasis for Colbert Busch is on education and job creation, which are inextricably related in her view.
“Education and business cannot be unlaced. Without education you cannot grow business,” Colbert Busch said.
When talking about this relationship, Colbert Busch refers often to experiences she’s had working on Clemson’s wind turbine project in the Lowcountry.
She explains that she’s seen first-hand how a skilled workforce, particularly in the STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), attracts good paying jobs.
In discussing economic issues, Colbert Busch also addresses the matter of gridlock, which is at the core of the country’s dissatisfaction with Congress.
“My number one priority is job creation,” she said. “Job creation doesn’t have a party. It’s about what’s best for the people of your district. We can work together and create jobs. We can reach across the aisle.”
She talked about working with a range of constituents and stakeholders to secure grant money for the wind turbine project.
“If you have a common goal and you’re being practical about it and not political about it you can be successful,” Colbert Busch said.
Colbert Busch reiterated her belief that alternative energy is the next source of economic growth in America and how the Lowcountry is well-positioned to be a major player in that growth.
Colbert Busch knows there are potentially thorny issues between labor and business in light of the Boeing-NLRB dispute. She appeared to take a side in that battle when she accepted the endorsement of the AFL-CIO. But Colbert Busch doesn’t like to be limited to a binary choice such as “pro-business” or “pro-labor.”
“I’ve been in business for 25 years. I understand how important it is for business to be able to conduct business,” Colbert Busch said. “We need to be focused on business and what business needs.”
While many Republicans have called for the abolition of the Department of Education, Colbert Busch does not.
She notes the agency plays a critical in funding early childhood development programs like Head Start.
“If we’re going to make things in this country we must have a workforce that is educated from “cradle to career,’” Colbert Busch said. “If you as a society decide not to educate your children you’re through.”
Colbert Busch explains that the Department of Education plays a key role in funding research and development that is critical to expanding the marketplace. And it’s the backbone for funding programs for students learning outside of four-year colleges.
On the matter of school choice Colbert Busch said, ”I’m not in favor of vouchers. Point blank. We have to give parents a choice of how they want to educate their children. I’m in favor of public school choice for parents.”
As if to hammer home the point that she does not default to liberal dogma, Colbert Busch’s support of the Affordable Care Act (a/k/a ObamaCare) is less than full-throated. “It has some good points,” she said.
Colbert Busch likes that people with pre-existing conditions cannot be refused insurance and that parents can keep children on their insurance until the age of 26.
But there is also some uncertainty:
“When I go to Congress I want to be sure I understand all of it. We don’t want businesses to be bogged down with too many regulatory issues.”
The final issue she addressed was gun control, where her views seemed to mirror those of Sen. Lindsey Graham who has said that existing laws need to be enforced before new legislation is passed, particularly when it comes to background checks and gun trafficking.
“I am not in favor of banning weapons,” Colbert Busch said. She said that once current laws are truly enforced, “We can have a common sense discussion about where to go after that.”