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Junior Senator Tim Scott is the seventh African American to win election to the U.S. Senate. He is also a former U.S. representative for South Carolina's 1st Congressional District.
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Tim Scott was born on September 19, 1965, in Charleston, South Carolina. Scott was elected to the Charleston County Council in 1995, serving for 13 years. In 2008, he was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives. Two years later, he won a seat in South Carolina's 1st Congressional District. In 2012, Scott won a seat in the U.S. Senate, replacing Junior Senator Jim DeMint.
"If you really think about where we are, we have the most diverse freshman class in the Senate perhaps in its history. America has made amazing steps forward, and we will continue to make steps forward as we focus on those issues that bring us together."
"To know my story is to understand that there were people who had no reason to step up to the plate and help me, but who did. I want to serve the community because the community helped me."
"I love civil rights. I just want civil rights for everyone. I know you're not racist, your positions are valid, and it's the other side that plays favorites."
"My campaign was never about race."
Tim Scott was born Timothy Eugene Scott on September 19, 1965, in Charleston, South Carolina. When Scott was still in grade school, his parents divorced. Scott's father, Ben, was stationed with the Air Force in Colorado for most of Scott's childhood, leaving Scott's single mother, a nurse's aid named Frances, to raise him and his siblings on her own.
Scott helped his family make ends meet by working at a Chick-fil-A franchise, while struggling to do well in high school. The franchise's owner, John Moniz, became Scott's mentor. Moniz convinced Scott that he could use his intelligence and problem-solving skills to find a way out of poverty and become successful. Muniz died of a heart attack when Scott was in his senior year. To cope with the loss, Scott focused on implementing Moniz's inspirational advice. By his high school graduation, Scott had improved his grades and stepped up his game enough to qualify for a partial football scholarship to Presbyterian College. Eventually, he transferred to Charleston Southern University, graduating in 1988 with a bachelor's degree in political science.
Before Tim Scott broke into politics, he embarked on a successful business career. He became the owner of the Tim Scott Allstate Insurance Company, one of the most successful Allstate branches in his home state of South Carolina.
Scott was also a partner of the Pathway Real Estate Group prior to transitioning to a political career in the mid-1990s.
Scott took his first stab at politics in 1995, when he ran for Charleston County Council and won. He went on to serve as a councilman for more than a decade, leaving his post in 2009 after winning election to the South Carolina House of Representatives. Early into his service as a state representative, Scott was appointed chairman of the House Whip and the Freshman Caucus.
In 2010, Scott ran as a Republican nominee against Paul Thurmond for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, and won. That fall, Scott took his seat in Congress—becoming the first African-American Republican congressman from the South since the post-Civil War Reconstruction Era—representing South Carolina's 1st Congressional District.
Following the election, the Congressional Black Caucus invited Scott to become a member. He declined, explaining, "My campaign was never about race."
In 2012, Scott was selected as a possible replacement for Junior Senator Jim DeMint, who was getting ready to retire from the U.S. Senate in order to head up the Heritage Foundation. Scott faced off against several impressive candidates, including Jenny Sanford, Trey Gowdy, Henry McMaster and Catherine Templeton.
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