Spring is a time for new beginnings, and nowhere is a fresh approach needed more than in the nation’s partisan-gridlocked capital. Elizabeth Colbert Busch offers the 1st Congressional District new, responsible leadership. Voters should send her to Washington.

Ms. Colbert Busch will be a savvy, energetic advocate for the coastal district, which she correctly views as an area where new opportunities for jobs, economic development and a better quality of life are just beginning to open up.

Her optimism and upbeat approach toward the job are tempered by a recognition that the federal government’s fiscal woes threaten prosperity and growth.

It’s time to be realistic about solving Washington’s debt problem, and to acknowledge that the cooperative efforts of both Democrats and Republicans are needed, she says.

“We have got to get this fiscal house in order,” she says.

That will require spending cuts, tax reform, and eliminating waste and fraud. And it will require a bipartisan approach.

But it won’t require opposing federal initiatives that will benefit the 1st District in terms of infrastructure, port improvements, university research and development, and job creation.

She notes that Sens. Ernest F. “Fritz” Hollings and Strom Thurmond pursued fiscally prudent government without making it a detriment to their state.

And she insists she will pursue her efforts to that end even when they conflict with House Democratic leaders like Nancy Pelosi. “I obviously have my differences with the Democratic Party,” she says, adding, “Nobody tells me what to do — except the people of the 1st District.”

In her fiscal viewpoint, Ms. Colbert Busch offers a balanced alternative to her GOP opponent Mark Sanford. He held the 1st District seat for a self-limited three terms, then later served two gubernatorial terms marred by near-constant conflict with his fellow Republicans who ran the Legislature.

Ms. Colbert Busch’s resolve to reach across the aisle would serve the 1st District — and the nation — well.

For the many who suffer from Sanford Fatigue — a malady caused by overexposure to all of the cringe-worthy details of his 2009 disgrace as governor, his ongoing efforts for redemption via the political process, his resurgent personal problems, etc. — Ms. Colbert Busch offers a welcome tonic.

She is new to politics, but not to public life. She is an experienced businesswoman who served as the first woman chair of the Maritime Association of South Carolina. As director of sales and marketing for a major shipping line, she oversaw trade lane development, budgetary objectives and her company’s regional business plan.

Most recently she has been serving as director of development for the Clemson University Restoration Institute in North Charleston. The institute is doing cutting-edge research in wind turbine use for electrical power production.

She cites the Clemson project for its potential to provide thousands of jobs in the Charleston area. Incidentally, Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell, a Republican, projected similar results for the institute as its advocate while leader of the state Senate.

Ms. Colbert Busch would eschew ideology for a pragmatic approach that can be expected to achieve real results in the real world — including the 1st District.

Sens. Hollings and Thurmond took that approach. So has Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, braving the criticism of the hard right in his own party.

Ms. Colbert Busch offers a Democratic version of that goal-oriented approach to government. She deserves an opportunity to make a practical difference for the district.

Voters should give her that chance in Tuesday’s special election.