What’s your opinion of Timothy Eugene Scott? Surely, you know who he is. One of only two Blacks in the United States Senate, "Tim" Scott is the junior U.S. Senator for South Carolina. A Republican, Scott became a senator in 2013 after fellow Republican, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, named him to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Jim DeMint. Scott is a former member of the United States House of Representatives for South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District. Instead of being prideful of Tim Scott’s appointment to represent South Carolina in the Senate, many African-American commentators have been skeptical. Soon the people of his state will decide. Scott is running in a special election in 2014 for the final two years of his predecessor’s term. To prevail in office Scott will need the help and votes of the states’ 250,000 Blacks in the November 4, 2014 election.
Scott was joined by a second African-American senator in the 113th Congress when Mo Cowan was appointed to the Massachusetts seat by African-American Gov. Deval Patrick on February 1, 2013. Currently Scott is one of two African-American senators in the 113th Congress, alongside New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker.
Scott has all the trappings of “the ideal All-American” boy next door. Scott is 58, and was born in North Charleston, S.C., to Ben Scott, Sr. and Frances Scott. Tim’s parents divorced when he was 7, causing him to grow up in poverty under the care of a single mother who worked 16-hour days. His older brother is a Army Sergeant Major. An athlete, Scott earned a partial football scholarship to Presbyterian College and later graduated from Charleston Southern University with a bachelor’s degree in political science. Scott is an accomplished businessman, having worked in real estate and insurance, as owner of Tim Scott Allstate and partner of Pathway Real Estate Group.
When he was elected to a seat in the U.S. House in November 2010, Scott became the first Black Republican representative from South Carolina since 1897. A fiscal and cultural conservative, Scott was elected on a platform of reducing federal spending and taxes. As a Black senator, Scott is in a position to make a foray into territory Republicans desperately need to cross like development of strategies to reverse poverty rather than subsidize it. Those opposed to Scott advocate liberal big government, many African-American intellectuals have embraced. These Blacks regularly dismiss Scott as politically impotent regarding African Americans’ interest and needs.
Actually, Scott embodies many traditional Black values. A child of Black mores and principles, Scott is a fiscal conservative in the mold of Booker T. Washington. Fiscal conservatives oppose deficit spending, support reduction of overall government spending and national debt and ensuring that the country has a balanced budget. Fiscal conservatives support pay-as-you-go financial policies. Adaptation of such policies and principles can increase Blacks overall quality of life as well as political expectations.
Scott needs Blacks to acknowledge and celebrate his presence in the U.S. Senate. Blacks need to gauge Scott for his position and positions on issues of importance to us and join with National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus that “It’s a time to celebrate the influence of African Americans like Senator Tim Scott.”
Seven Blacks have served in the U.S Senate: the majority of them have been Republicans. The first was Hiram Revels, from Mississippi. Republicans have led the way in abolishing slavery, passing the 14th and 15th Amendments, ending Jim Crow and enacting the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In honor of Black History Month, Scott is convening a panel – to which all living Black senators of the past and present have been invited. Former Democratic Sens. Mo Cowan, Roland Burris and Carol Mosley Braun have agreed to attend. President Barack Obama, sitting Sen. Booker (D-N.J.) and 94-year-old former Massachusetts Republican Sen. Ed Brooke are invited. The event, “Honoring Our Past and Celebrating Our Future: Discussing a Nation’s Progress with America’s Black Senators,” takes place Feb. 25 at the Library of Congress.
William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via the BaileyGroup.org