Person You Should Know – Sam Bushman
Story by Jefferson City Magazine Staff | Jun 27, 2018
photo by Xavier Jordan
Tell us about your family:
I was born and raised in Jefferson City. My father, Samuel M. Bushman III, was an attorney; my grandfather, Samuel M. Bushman Jr., was an attorney. I am Samuel M. Bushman IV, and I did not want to be an attorney! I have been married to my wife, Linda, for 34 years, and Samuel’s is our life.
Describe the role of Cole County Presiding Commissioner: The buck stops with me! I get the blame and the credit for whatever happens in Cole County.
What are some of your goals as presiding commissioner?
I want to take care of the citizens of Cole County. I want them to feel safe with good law enforcement, good fire protection, good EMS, and good roads. I want our citizens to be glad they’re living in Cole County.
What led you to run for office?
I did it on a whim when Marc Ellinger announced early that he wasn’t running for re-election. For years people had encouraged me to run for city or state office, and I always said no. This time, I said yes.
How do you hope to impact the community with your roles as business owner and presiding commissioner?
As a businessman, I serve my customers and give them what they want to the best of my ability. As commissioner, I want to do the same for our citizens.
Why you are passionate about your positions?
I like people, and I care! Our citizens have been my loyal customers for more 40 years. I’m on my third generation of dressing up our families, and now I want to serve them more.
This is as far as I want to go in politics. I’m up for re-election in November but have no opposition. I’m comfortable at my county job and have good people working with me. I don’t want to leave them.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” I am a devout Catholic, and I try to do what is morally right. We need God more today than ever before.
What are some interesting gifts you’ve been given by Cole County residents?
I have two Thomas Hart Benton drawings that were sketches made for the Benton murals at the Capitol, a lamp made from Ford Model T parts, a lightning rod with a horse vane, and a few bottles of bourbon (for medicinal use only). People have been kind to me, and I appreciate it.
Favorite place to spend an afternoon:
On Sunday afternoons, I like to read and nap on our sun porch.
Last book you read:
I have over 4,000 books in my library, so I’ll read two or three books at a time. The last books I finished were “Rough Riders: Theodore Roosevelt, His Cowboy Regiment, and the Immortal Charge Up San Juan Hill” by Mark Gardner and “Nightmare Town” by Dashell Hammett.
Favorite TV show:
Probably “American Pickers” and “Antique Roadshow,” although we don’t watch much television.
Favorite comfort food: Chocolate almond ice cream from Central Dairy, although I don’t get it very often.
Charleston, SC or any old, historic city. Gettysburg is my family’s original home; we settled in this area before the American Revolution. There are three Bushman farms on the battlefield today. If I ever move, it will be to Gettysburg.
I was an art major in college, and I studied painting and print making in graduate school. I’ve always wanted to paint a large mural.
Source of inspiration: In college, I worked at Herman’s Department Store. This is where I learned how to be a good retailer. The Hermans are some of the finest people I know, and they are my second family.
What is a fun fact about you that most people don’t know?
I was going to join the U.S. Navy but had three surgeries on my arm. That ended that. In 1986, I was asked to help on the re-commissioning of the battleship Missouri, and the St. Louis navy recruiting office asked for my assistance with a special U.S.S. Missouri Recruit Company. Secretary of State Roy Blunt swore them in on the steps of the capitol, and we sent them off to basic carrying the Missouri flag. I worked with navy recruiting and commissioned our new ships. I de-commissioned the battleship Missouri in 1992, but commissioned the U.S.S. Jefferson City, the U.S.S. Harry S. Truman, the submarine U.S.S. Missouri, and the still to-be-commissioned U.S.S. St. Louis. I attended a session at the Navy War College in 1998. In my 32 years working with the Navy, I’ve cruised on over 60 ships, including the last cruise of the battleship Missouri. I now take groups out to visit our fleet and serve as a volunteer with the Employers in Support of the Guard and Reserve, a Department of Defense program with the Missouri National Guard. It’s been an exciting 32 years!