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.

What’s next?

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.

Ideal vacation:

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.

Secret aspiration:

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!

Presented by Submarine Squadron 11 to Sam Bushman for his work with the USS Jefferson City