Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina has been tapped to deliver the Republican rebuttal to President Joe Biden’s joint address to Congress on Wednesday.
Scott, 55, is the only Black Republican in the Senate and is popular across the Republican Party.
He said he is honored to be selected and he is looking forward to having “an honest conversation with the American people.”
“We face serious challenges on multiple fronts, but I am as confident as I have ever been in the promise and potential of America,” he said.
One of Scott’s signature issues is the creation of “opportunity zones” to provide tax incentives for businesses to invest in low-income urban areas. The zones were passed into law with the 2017 tax bill.
Another one of his signature issues is criminal justice reform. In the wake of the death of George Floyd, Scott proposed legislation to reform the police, but it stalled without Democratic support.
“Now is the time for reform,” Scott said of the bill in a news release on June 17, 2020. “The murder of George Floyd and its aftermath made clear from sea to shining sea that action must be taken to rebuild lost trust between communities of color and law enforcement.”
He is currently working with Senator Corey Booker, a Democrat from New Jersey, on another criminal justice reform bill.
Scott, a former congressman who entered the Senate in 2013, has been vocal about race issues, and last year he opened up to The Associated Press about his interactions with law enforcement.
“I’m thinking to myself how blessed and lucky I am to have 18 different encounters and to have walked away from each encounter,” he said.
Scott was raised in poverty by a single mother, and according to his official biography, he nearly flunked out of high school. He says his grandfather picked cotton as a child.
Before entering politics, Scott ran an insurance agency, which he still owns.
He sits on the Senate Finance Committee, Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs and three others.
“Senator Tim Scott is not just one of the strongest leaders in our Senate Republican Conference. He is one of the most inspiring and unifying leaders in our nation,” Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement announcing the selection.
“As Sen. Scott likes to say, he is living his mother’s American dream, and he has dedicated his career to creating more opportunity for our fellow citizens who need it most.”