Born and raised in Mount Pleasant, Joe Bustos attended public schools his whole life. Soon after graduation from Columbia College in 1970, Joe enlisted in the U.S. Army, where he served as an aviation crew member. In 1971, he and Kathy were married and now have two children and two grandchildren.
Joe later attended officer candidate school and left active duty for the U.S. Army Reserve in 1976. He and Kathy then moved back to Mount Pleasant. After graduating from the S.C. Criminal Justice Academy, where he received the J.P. Strom Award, Joe joined the Charleston Police Department.
When President Reagan began rebuilding the military in 1980, Joe was recalled and placed on active duty in the U.S. Army, where he retired in 1995 as Chief of Personnel Plans and Operations and Headquarters Forces Command at Fort McPherson in Georgia.
Joe and Kathy again moved back to their hometown, Mount Pleasant, where Joe took a job as a stockbroker at First, Butcher, & Singer. Today, Joe and Kathy operate two local small businesses. Joe started Mount Pleasant Flight Training with one plane and one instructor—him. The company operates out of Mount Pleasant Regional Airport and now has 5 planes and 6 employees. Kathy operates Bustos Travel Services and remains active in the community.
Joe continued his public service in 2000 by running for Mount Pleasant Town Council on a platform of responsible and sustainable growth management. Throughout Joe’s 13 years of service on town council, residential growth rates were capped at 2.5% – 3.0% annually and he held the line by protecting citizens from increases on residential taxes.
Joe left town council in 2009. Over the next 5 years, the 3% growth cap was lifted and residential sprawl was in full swing, bringing headaches for local residents. The town even let a developer build a parking garage on pristine Shem Creek. In 2015, Joe’s neighbors asked him to run for town council one more time so he could once again manage area growth to reasonable levels. He not only won, but every incumbent council member up for re-election was defeated.
Joe and Kathy have attended Stella Maris Catholic Church for 20 years on Sullivan’s Island where Joe serves as an usher. The couple will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in 2021.