Scott Brown biography
Republican politician Scott Brown started his political career as the real estate assessor for Wrentham, Massachusetts. In 1998, he was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives, serving three terms in the position before becoming a member of the Massachusetts Senate in 2004. Brown's election to the U.S. Senate in 2010 broke a 50-year Democratic stronghold on the state. He is opposed to gay marriage and has strongly advocated for veterans' affairs.
Scott Philip Brown was born on September 12, 1959, in Kittery, Maine. Brown's parents divorced when he was very young, so he lived with his single mother and great-grandparents in Wakefield, Massachusetts, as the family often had difficulty making ends meet. He remained close to his father, C. Bruce Brown, who served on the Newburyport City Council. As a child, Brown often accompanied his father on statewide political campaigns.
Scott Brown graduated from Wakefield High School in 1977 and joined the Massachusetts Army National Guard at age 19, attending ROTC classes first at Northwestern University, and then Tufts University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in history with honors. He then pursued a law degree at Boston College Law School, receiving his J.D. in 1985. While at Boston College, the 22-year-old Brown also became known for his good looks when he won Cosmopolitan magazine's "America's Sexiest Man" contest. He was featured as a nude centerfold in the magazine, and in the accompanying interview article Scott described his patriotic tendencies and political ambitions. The appearance in the magazine, and its $1,000 fee, helped pay for law school. It also jump-started a long and lucrative part-time modeling career for Brown during the 1980s.
Brown entered politics in 1992 when he was elected assessor of Wrentham, Massachusetts. As an assessor, he specialized in calculating the value of property for tax purposes. It was at this time that he attests he caught the "political bug." In 1995, he was elected to the Wrentham Board of Selectmen (the executive arm of New England towns, like a town council). Then, in 1998, he successfully ran for Massachusetts House of Representatives for the 9th Norfolk District. He served for three terms in the position. Brown moved up the ladder in state politics when he won a special election to the State Senate to replace Democrat Cheryl Jacques in March 2004. He was reelected that November, and again in 2006, running without opposition each time.
In February 2007, Scott Brown created some controversy when he appeared at King Philip Regional High School in Wrentham during a debate on gay marriage. Previously, a group of high school students had created a Facebook page attacking Brown and making derogatory remarks about his daughter, Ayla. During his presentation, Brown defended himself and his daughter by reading the students' quotes from the Facebook page, including their names and profane statements.
Brown's position on gay marriage has also been controversial; he once remarked that the decision by then-state senator Cheryl Jacques to have a baby with her domestic partner was "unusual for two women & in terms of what's normal in today's society." The comment caused a media clamor, and forced Brown to retract the statement days later.
However, the incident wasn't enough to derail Brown's political rise to prominence. While in the state senate, he voted against the repeal of the state law that barred out-of-state gay couples from marrying in Massachusetts and later, voted for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, and opposed the repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. During his career in the state legislator he generally supported more conservative causes, but he had once been a backer of Roe v. Wade until he adopted a pro-life stance.
During his tenure as state senator, he made his mark as a strong advocate for veterans' affairs. As a member of the Veterans' and Federal Affairs committee, he authored a 2007 law that put a check-box on state income tax forms to indicate whether the individual had served in Iraq or Afghanistan. The motion helped the state to notify veterans of available services and benefits.
In September 2009, Scott Brown announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate seat that had become vacant upon the death of Ted Kennedy, proclaiming he would fulfill Massachusetts' need for an "independent thinker." The press described him as a candidate who didn't fall neatly into party lines and characterized him as "mainstream." In the general election, Brown faced Democratic nominee Attorney General Martha Coakley and independent Joseph L. Kennedy (no relation to the Kennedy family). Initially, Brown faced overwhelming odds, being a relative unknown and a Republican in a very Democratic state. But while Democrats far outnumber Republicans in Massachusetts, independents outnumber both parties combined. Brown capitalized on his reputation as a moderate, and gained an increasing amount of support at election time.
On election night, January 19, 2010, Scott Brown won the election by a 52 to 47 percent margin. He performed well in Republican strongholds, and kept rival Coakley's margins down in many Democratic precincts. He was able to garner independent voters who had supported Democrats in the past were frustrated with recent events in Washington over high unemployment, Wall Street bailouts, exploding federal budget deficits and partisan wrangling over health care.
Of greater importance was the fact that a Republican had taken the senate seat a Democrat had held for more than 50 years. His victory also stripped Democrats of the 60-seat super-majority it held in the Senate, which it needed to overcome Republican filibusters. Since his swearing into office, Senator Scott Brown has kept a low profile whenever possible. In one of his first initiatives as a senator, Brown became one of five Republicans to vote for the Democrat-sponsored "jobs bill", helping to pass the motion 70 to 28.