Monday, December 17, 2012

Who is Tim Scott?

With Tea Party favorite Jim Demint leaving the Senate for a more…lucrative… job as president of the conservative think tank, The Heritage Foundation, South Carolina’s Governor Nikki Haley was tasked with appointing his replacement.  Today she made her announcement: Tim Scott. 

Today's appointment makes Tim Scott the ONLY sitting African American senator.  He will be the first African American senator from a Deep South state since reconstruction.  He will be the second Black Republican Senator (Edward Brooke) and just the seventh (yes, you heard that right, 7th … total) Black Senator in the history of the United States. 

Out of the nearly 1900 Senators in our history, seven have been of African American descent; with Scott, there have been five in modern history.  (Side Note: Of the seven, only 3 of been elected by popular vote.  Two were elected by their State Senate and two were appointed by their Governors.  Oh… and three out of the seven are from Illinois)

Tim Scott grew up in Charleston S.C., where he was raised by his mother after his parents divorced.  After graduating with a degree in Political Science from Charleston Southern University, Scott went on to become a successful businessperson.  He owns his own insurance agency and works as a financial advisor accruing and estimated wealth of $3.4 million in 2010. 

Prior to serving in politics, Scott served as the campaign co-chairman for onetime segregationist Strom Thurmond saying, “The Strom Thurmond I knew had nothing to do with segregation.” 

His career in politics started at the local level.  In 1995, Scott was elected to the Charleston County Council where he would spend the next 13 years.  His time on the Council was not without controversy, in 1997, Scott hung the Ten Commandments outside the Council’s chambers.  Later, the council was sued by Charleston residents and the ACLU and the courts found the display unconstitutional.  In 2008, he was elected to the South Carolina legislature.  And, in 2010 he rode the Tea Party wave becoming one of two African Americans from the South to serve in Congress (Alan West). 

Upon his arrival, Scott was one of two freshmen selected to join the House Republican leadership serving as the Chair to the Economic Development Committee.   He also turn down an invitation to join the left leaning Congressional Black Caucus. 

In the House, Scott has taken many conservative positions.  He cosponsored legislation to expand gun rights including concealed-carry permits and allow dealers to sell guns across state lines.  Scott’s website calls the second Amendment the “cornerstone of our democracy” and the “federal government should never interfere” with the right to defend oneself.  Scott is a fiscal conservative that believes taxes should be reduced along with federal spending and Obamacare should be repealed.  He is pro-life, supports laws like Arizona SB 1070, and believes English should become the official language in the government requiring new immigrants to learn the language.  Scott is anti-labor and supports Right to Work states, and believes we should have a continued military presence in Afghanistan.  He opposes same-sex marriage and affirmative action.  Scott is against raising the Debt Ceiling.  In 2011, Scott called any attempt by President Obama to raise the Debt Ceiling using the 14th Amendment and “impeachable act.”  Needless to say, Scott and President Obama don’t agree on most political matters.  Scott is your typical Tea Party Republican.   

Scott has had a very successful life.  His hard work is paying off.  In January 2013, he will make African American history serving his country as a U.S. Senator.

Should African American’s celebrate Scott’s appointment?
Is his appointment a type of “Affirmative Action” for Republicans looking to rebrand their image?
Does this help Republicans with their out reach to African Americans?
Is Scott's appointment good for African Americans? 

Final Thought:
We often get on the setting president for not making diverse appointments (ie: Obama didn't pick a African American this, Bush didn't pick a Female that, Clinton didn't select a Hispanic XYZ).  Which matters more, selecting someone who fits the desired demographic or the selecting of a person who will work to help the desired demographic? 
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