Bobby Scott (politician)

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Bobby Scott
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 3rd district
Assumed office
January 3, 1993
Preceded by Thomas Bliley
Member of the Virginia Senate
from the 2nd district
In office
January 12, 1983 – January 3, 1993
Preceded by Herbert Bateman
Succeeded by Henry Maxwell
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
from the 48th district
In office
January 13, 1982 – January 12, 1983
Preceded by Harvey Morgan
Succeeded by Mary A. R. Marshall
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
from the 49th district
In office
January 11, 1978 – January 13, 1982
Preceded by Multi-member district
Succeeded by Vince Callahan
Personal details
Born Robert Cortez Scott
(1947-04-30) April 30, 1947 (age 70)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Education Harvard University (BA)
Boston College (JD)
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Army
Years of service 1970–1973
Unit Army Reserve
Massachusetts National Guard

Robert Cortez Scott (born April 30, 1947) is the U.S. Representative for Virginia's 3rd congressional district, serving since 1993. He is a member of the Democratic Party. The district takes in most of Richmond, all of Portsmouth, along with most of the black-majority areas of Norfolk, Hampton and Scott's home in Newport News. Scott is the current dean of the Virginia Congressional delegation.

Early life, education, and law career[edit]

Scott was born in Washington, D.C. and grew up in Newport News, Virginia. He is of African American and Filipino American (maternal grandfather) descent.[1] His father Dr. Charles Waldo Scott (1916–93) was a pioneering African-American surgeon[2] and his mother Mae Hamlin-Scott (1920-2010), a graduate in chemistry from the University of Michigan, was an educator who taught science in the Newport News public schools.[3]

Scott graduated from Harvard College with an A.B. in government and Boston College Law School with a Juris Doctor. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.

Scott is a former member of the National Guard and Army Reserve.[4] He was a lawyer in private practice from 1973 to 1991.

Virginia legislature[edit]

Scott was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates as a Democrat in 1977 and he was elected to the Senate of Virginia in 1982. While in the Virginia legislature, he worked for greater access to health care for the poor and children, an increased minimum wage, and greater job training. Scott also authored legislation that provides tax credits to business that provide donations to serving local communities in preventing crime or increasing social service delivery.

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]


Earlier official photo of Scott

Scott first ran for Congress in 1986 in the 1st district, which included his home in Newport News. He lost to Republican incumbent U.S. Congressman Herb Bateman 56%-44%.[5]


In 1992, the Department of Justice directed the Virginia legislature to draw a black-majority district after the 1990 census. The legislature responded by shifting most of the black residents of Hampton Roads and Richmond into a newly created 3rd District. Scott won a three-way Democratic primary with 67% of the vote,[6] which was tantamount to election in this heavily Democratic district. In the general election, he defeated Republican Dan Jenkins 79%-21%.[7]


During this time period, he won re-election every two years with at least 76% of the vote, except in 2004. That year, he was challenged by Republican Winsome Sears, a former State Delegate. He won with 69% of the vote, the lowest winning percentage of his career. In 1994, Scott won 79.44% of the vote, defeating Republican Thomas E. Ward. In 1996, he won 82.12% of the vote, defeating Republican Eisle G. Holland. in 1998, he won 75.97% of the vote, defeating Independent Robert S. Barnett. He ran unopposed in 2000, 2002, 2006, and 2008.


Scott was challenged by Republican Chuck Smith, a former JAG. Scott defeated him 70%-27%,[8] the second worst performance of his career.


After redistricting, Scott's district was made even more safe. In 2008, President Barack Obama had carried the district with 76% of the vote; he won the new district with 78%.[9] Scott faced Air Force officer Dean Longo.[10] He easily won an 11th term with 81.26% of the vote.

Scott joined President Obama in kicking off his campaign at Virginia Commonwealth University. The focus of the rally was largely on Obama's timeline for leaving the Middle East.[11]


Rep. Bobby Scott, D-VA, speaks in opposition to the Synthetic Drug Control Act of 2011 (HR 1254) by arguing that it is excessive in scope, imposes limits on researchers, and bypasses the existing process of banning substances. The legislation passed the next day, December 8, 2011 by 317–98. Video: C-SPAN

Scott is the first African American Representative from Virginia since Reconstruction. Also, having a maternal grandfather of Filipino ancestry gives Scott the distinction of being the first American of Filipino descent to serve as a voting member of Congress. Scott's congressional district is the only one with a majority black population in Virginia. The district was created in 1992 and has remained the most Democratic district in Virginia.[12]

Scott's annual Labor Day picnic, generally held at his mother's residence in Newport News, is a major campaign stop for statewide and federal candidates in Virginia.

On November 7, 2009, Scott voted for the Affordable Health Care for America Act (HR 3962).

Scott has voted progressively in the House of Representatives. He has supported increases in the minimum wage and has worked to eliminate anti-gay bias in the workplace.[13] In 2010, Scott co-sponsored the "Lee-Scott bill" with Barbara Lee to make it easier on individuals who had been on unemployment for 99 weeks without finding work. In regards to the bill, Lee said that "it is important that we put in place a safety net for those still looking for work. We cannot and will not allow our fellow Americans to fall by the wayside. Congressman Scott and I plan to continue to push for passage of this legislation because it is simply the right thing to do."[14]

Scott was an outspoken opponent of the Bush administration. He opposed the Patriot Act explaining that officials may abuse the power by promoting anti-terrorist security and develop unfair "racial profiling". In 2002 Scott voted nay on the Iraq war resolution and did not support any of the Bush Doctrine in reference to the Iraq war.[12]

Legislation sponsored[edit]

Scott introduced the Death in Custody Reporting Act of 2013 (H.R. 1447; 113th Congress) on April 9, 2013.[15] The bill would require the United States Department of Justice to collect data from U.S. states and territories about the deaths of prisoners in their custody.[16] States and territories would face monetary penalties for noncompliance. The bill would also require federal agencies to report on the deaths of prionsers in their custody.

Committee assignments[edit]


Rep. Scott hails from a highly educated and socially prominent family. His father, Dr. Charles Waldo Scott, himself the son of a physician, was educated at Howard University (M.Sc.) in Washington, D.C. and then graduated cum laude from the University of Michigan Medical School. He went on to serve as the chief surgeon of two Newport News hospitals in the course of which he was mentor to many young doctors. In the segregated South during a time when African-Americans labored under the iniquitous system of Jim Crow laws, Dr. Scott was a tireless advocate of racial, social and educational equality and in 1952 became the first African-American appointed to the Newport News school board in the 20th century.[17]

His mother Mae, the daughter of a Filipino-American pharmacist and his African-American wife, was born in 1920 and during an era of segregated sports was twice national high-school tennis champion at Palmer Memorial Institute. She was educated at Virginia State College and Fisk University graduating in 1940 with a B.A. in chemistry and biology and proceeded to the University of Michigan and Western Reserve University, where she earned an M.S. in public health education. She went on to teach science in Newport News public high schools for 22 years until retiring in 1981.

His siblings include Jon L. Scott, DDS, an orthodontist, the late Charles Waldo Scott, Jr. (1945-2013), and Valerie S. Price (wife of Newport News Mayor Dr. McKinley L. Price, DDS).


Possible U.S. Senate appointment[edit]

On July 22, 2016, then-presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton announced that she had chosen Tim Kaine, a U.S. Senator from Virginia, as her running mate. Had the Clinton-Kaine ticket won the general election, Kaine would have resigned his Senate seat, and Democratic Governor of Virginia Terry McAuliffe would have been able to appoint a replacement to serve until a 2017 special election. In August 2016, former Democratic governor Douglas Wilder stated that he would want McAuliffe to appoint Scott to the seat, stating that it "would be good for the commonwealth, good for the Democratic Party, of which Bobby has been most supportive, and great for our nation."[18] On November 8, however, Clinton and Kaine lost the presidency to Donald Trump and Mike Pence, so Kaine remained in his Senate seat and an appointment was not necessary.[19]

Electoral history[edit]

Virginia's 1st congressional district: 1986 results[20]
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct
1986 Bobby Scott 63,364 44% Herbert H. Bateman 80,713 56% *

*Write-in and minor candidate notes: In 1986, write-ins received 9 votes.

Virginia's 3rd congressional district: Results 1992–2016[20][21]
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
1992 Bobby Scott 132,432 79% Daniel Jenkins 35,780 21% Write-ins 261
1994 Bobby Scott 108,532 79% Thomas E. Ward 28,080 21% Write-ins 8
1996 Bobby Scott 118,603 82% Elsie Goodwyn Holland 25,781 18% Write-ins 34
1998 Bobby Scott 48,129 76% (no candidate) Robert S. Barnett Independent 14,453 23% *
2000 Bobby Scott 137,527 98% (no candidate) Write-ins 3,226 2%
2002 Bobby Scott 87,521 96% (no candidate) Write-ins 3,552 4%
2004 Bobby Scott 159,373 69% Winsome Sears 70,194 31% Write-ins 325
2006 Bobby Scott 133,546 96% (no candidate) Write-ins 5,448 4%
2008 Bobby Scott 230,911 97% (no candidate) Write-ins 7,377 3%
2010 Bobby Scott 114,656 70% Chuck Smith 44,488 27% James Quigley Libertarian 2,383 2% *
2012 Bobby Scott 259,199 81.27% Dean J. Longo 58,931 18.48% * Write-ins 806 0.25%
2014 Bobby Scott 139,197 94.43% (no candidate) Write-ins 8,205 5.57%
2016 Bobby Scott 208,337 66.70% Marty Williams 103,289 33.07% Write-ins 714 0.23%
Write-in and minor candidate notes:In 1998, write-ins received 772 votes. In 2010, independent and write-in candidates received 2,210 votes.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Edmund Silvestre (November 8, 2008). "Fil-Am elected to US Congress". The Philippine Star. Archived from the original on November 10, 2008. Retrieved November 8, 2008. 
    Jon Sterngass (January 1, 2009). Filipino Americans. Infobase Publishing. p. 107. ISBN 978-1-4381-0711-0. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Mae Hamlin Scott, Rep. Scott's mother and Mayor McKinley Price's mother-in-law, dies at age 89". Newport News Daily Press. November 25, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Rep. Robert C. Scott (D-Va.)". Roll Call. Economist Group. 2014. Retrieved December 18, 2014. Military Service: Mass. National Guard, 1970-74; Army Reserve, 1974-76 
    "Rep. Scott, Huntington Ingalls President to Deliver Addresses at ODU's 121st Commencement Exercises". News @ ODU. Old Dominion University. November 2014. Retrieved December 18, 2014. He received an honorable discharge for his service in the Massachusetts National Guard and the United States Army Reserve. 
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ "CAMPAIGN 2012: Dean Longo challenges Bobby Scott". CBS6. May 19, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Obama kicks off campaign in Richmond". Daily Press. May 5, 2012. 
  12. ^ a b The Almanac of American Politics, National Journal Group, 2009.
  13. ^ [1], Project Vote Smart.
  14. ^ "Barbara Lee, Bobby Scott Introduce Bill For 99ers". Huffington Post. December 20, 2010. 
  15. ^ "H.R. 1447 - Summary". United States Congress. Retrieved December 9, 2013. 
  16. ^ Kasperowicz, Pete (December 6, 2013). "House bill would require states to report on prisoner deaths". The Hill. Retrieved December 9, 2013. 
  17. ^ KNEMEYER, Nelda (January 11, 1993). "C. Waldo Scott, Civil Rights Pioneer And Physician, Dies". Newport News Daily Press. 
  18. ^ Vozzella, Laura (August 9, 2016). "Douglas Wilder wants Rep. Bobby Scott for Kaine's Senate seat". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 18, 2016. 
  19. ^ Flegenheimer, Matt; Barbaro, Michael (November 9, 2016). "Donald Trump Is Elected President in Stunning Repudiation of the Establishment". The New York Times. Retrieved November 20, 2016. 
  20. ^ a b "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Archived from the original on December 26, 2007. Retrieved January 10, 2008. 
  21. ^ Election results Archived June 17, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.. Virginia State Board of Elections

External links[edit]

Senate of Virginia
Preceded by
Herbert Bateman
Member of the Virginia Senate
from the 2nd district

Succeeded by
Henry Maxwell
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Thomas Bliley
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 3rd congressional district

Current U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Bobby Rush
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Nydia Velázquez
D-New York