By Paul Bowes
Assuming Tea Party favorite Tim Scott runs for re-election as Charleston's U.S. representative in November, he will face a new challenger in the political arena: Bobbie Rose, a Democratic candidate and political novice who filed to run for the position on Tuesday.
Rose, who has never run for public office before, is campaigning on a platform of retaining women's rights, aiding returning veterans, creating jobs, and improving education. She says she has been watching Scott since he took office in January of 2011, and she thinks his focus is too narrow.
"The laws that he has passed over the last year he has been in office have been pretty directed at a couple of things: cutting corporate taxes and repealing regulations," Rose says. "Nineteen or more percent of the people in every district in this state don't get enough to eat," she says, referring to a recent report by the nonprofit Food Research and Action Center. "To focus solely on deregulation and cutting taxes to benefit businesses ... that's a problem.
"I think he has abandoned his constituents," she adds.
Rose's platform is lean on specifics. In the area of veterans' rights, she would work for better treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, but says she would have to meet with military members to get a better idea of what else to do.
Rose says she would pressure state education officials to accept funding when it is offered, referring specifically to state Education Superintendent Mick Zais' refusal in the past year to accept hundreds of millions of federal education dollars. "I think when funding can be had, you take it and find a way for it to work," she says.
On the matter of reproductive rights, she says Catholic hospitals should "absolutely" be required to provide contraceptives to women. "I'm surprised that in 2012 women's issues have to be on the forefront," she says, "but because of the political scene right now, it is."
Rose, a lifelong Democrat, lives on the Charleston peninsula with her husband, Thomas. She previously sat on the board of directors at the City University of New York, where she earned a degree in English and child psychology, and taught pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade classes in Kings County, N.Y. She was a bookkeeper at her husband's video production company for 13 years and has also worked in realty and as a family-court-appointed special advocate. She is currently a member of Mensa, the Charleston Symphony Orchestra Gospel Choir, and Lowcountry Orphan Relief.
District 1, Charleston's congressional district, currently stretches from Charleston County to the North Carolina border along the Atlantic coast, but the creation of a new seventh district based on 2010 census data will likely result in the Myrtle Beach area getting its own district. Scott is the District 1's first African-American representative. If elected, Rose would be the second woman to hold the District 1 seat after Clara Gooding McMillan, who was chosen in a November 1939 special election to fill the vacant seat after her husband, Thomas S. McMillan, passed away.