Scott Taylor (politician)

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Scott Taylor
Scott Taylor official photo.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 2nd district
Assumed office
January 3, 2017
Preceded by Scott Rigell
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
from the 85th district
In office
January 8, 2014 – January 3, 2017
Preceded by Bob Tata
Succeeded by Rocky Holcomb
Personal details
Born Scott William Taylor
(1979-06-27) June 27, 1979 (age 39)
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Political party Republican
Education Old Dominion University
Harvard University (BLA)
Website House website
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Navy
Years of service 1997–2005
Unit Navy SEALs
Battles/wars Iraq War

Scott William Taylor (born June 27, 1979) is an American Navy SEAL and the United States Representative for Virginia's 2nd congressional district. He was previously a member of the Virginia House of Delegates for the 85th district. He is a Republican.

Early life and career[edit]

Scott William Taylor[1] was born in Baltimore and raised by a single mother in Hebron, Maryland.

After high school, he enlisted in the United States Navy and served with the SEALs, first taking part in counternarcotics and foreign intelligence defense missions. He is fluent in Spanish and served overseas in South and Central America in counternarcotics and foreign internal defense missions.[2]

During Operation Iraqi Freedom, Taylor was a SEAL sniper, and he spent two years as a SEAL instructor teaching marksmanship and reconnaissance. Taylor appeared in the Discovery Channel feature Secrets of Seal Team 6.[3][2]

After leaving the military, Taylor worked in security consulting and critical infrastructure protection, frequently travelling to Yemen. He earned a Bachelor of Liberal Arts concentrating on International Relations from the Harvard Extension School[4] and also received a certificate in government contracting from Old Dominion University. He is a real estate broker.

Taylor has participated in national interviews on radio and news networks, discussing topics such as foreign policy, military issues, and national security. Taylor has been invited as a public speaker to Fortune 500 companies and NFL football teams. In August 2010, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell appointed Taylor to the Virginia War Memorial Board of Trustees. He served on the board of the Underwater Demolition Team/SEAL Association and the Virginia Beach Forum, an organization that promotes civic discourse. He is a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Political career[edit]

In 2008, Taylor ran for Mayor of Virginia Beach, Virginia.[5] He was a candidate in the 2010 primary election for Virginia's 2nd congressional district, but lost to Scott Rigell. Taylor was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates for the 85th district in November 2013, where, as a delegate, Taylor cosponsored a bill to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in labor and housing.[6]

In 2012, Taylor founded and served as chairman for the Special Operations OPSEC Education Fund, a 501(c) Political Action Committee formed in 2012 accusing the Obama Administration of security leaks and taking too much credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden in 2011.[7][8]

House of Representatives[edit]

Elections[edit]

2016

In 2016, after the incumbent Scott Rigell, a Republican, announced he would not seek re-election, Taylor won the Republican nomination for Virginia's 2nd congressional district in the United States House of Representatives, defeating Randy Forbes in the primary,[9][10] then defeated Democrat Shaun Brown, 61.3% to 38.5%, to win the general election on November 8, 2016.[11] Taylor is a member of the Republican Main Street Partnership,[12] as well as of the Republican Study Committee.[13]

2018

In May 2018, former Navy commander Elaine Luria announced her intention to run for Taylor's seat. In the June 10 Democratic primary, Luria received 62% of the vote, defeating Karen Mallard, who received 38%.[14] On the Republican side, Taylor readily defeated Mary Jones, 76% to 24%.[15]

On August 7, 2018, the Virginia Beach commonwealth's attorney appointed a special prosecutor to investigate possibly fraudulent petitions circulated by members of Taylor's 2018 campaign staff of behalf of by then-independent candidate, Shaun Brown.[16][17] A FOIA request made by WHRO found that four paid workers on Taylor's campaign had collected signatures to put Shaun Brown on the ballot as an independent candidate in the 2nd district race. Gathering signatures to put another candidate on the ballot is legal, and observers believe that Brown's "appearance on the ballot threatens to split the Democratic vote in a highly competitive race."[18] In August, following allegations that some of the signatures gathered by his staff were forged, Taylor fired his campaign consultant, Rob Catron, saying "My campaign has a zero-tolerance policy for inappropriate activities."[19][20] On September 5, following testimony in a civil lawsuit, Richmond Circuit Court Judge Gregory L. Rupe ordered the removal of Shaun Brown's name from the 2nd District ballot. A handwriting expert examined petitions signed by three Taylor staffers. In addition to invalidated signatures, she testified she found an overwhelming amount of forgeries on the same sheets.Rupe confirmed he had found evidence of forgery, uttering, perjury and "out-and-out fraud." Media investigations had discovered signatures of deceased voters, and that others no longer resided in the district. Catron, Taylor's campaign consultant, signed an affidavit saying that if he was required to testify, he intended to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination if asked whether he knew there were forged signatures, whether Taylor directed the effort to gather signatures for Brown, and whether there was an attempt to defraud the State Board of Elections. Additionally, four Taylor staffers signed such affidavits invoking their 5th Amendment rights against self-incrimination as the suit progressed, as did Vicki Wilson, who notarized Brown's signature pages. She said she would invoke her 5th Amendment right if called to testify of if she were to be asked if the person who signed the circulator’s affidavit was actually absent when Wilson filled out the notary certificate. Scott Weldon, Taylor's spokesman stated: "Given that the Democrat lawsuit was purely political and has now successfully excluded Shaun Brown, it’s understandable that individuals would exercise their right not to testify today. Our campaign will continue to cooperate with the investigation and make no further comment while it is ongoing." Democratic Party attorney Jeffrey Breit, informed Rupe that there was clear evidence of a pattern and intent by the Taylor campaign to defraud the Virginia Department of Elections. Following the hearing, Breit stated, "Here is a sitting congressman who sits together with his staff to add a woman charged and indicted for fraud and add her to the ballot for the sole purpose of trying to help his election," Ms. Brown additionally faces unrelated criminal federal fraud charges. Breit argued 377 signatures that Taylor's staffers gathered for Brown were forged and should be disallowed, leaving Brown with fewer than the required 1,000 valid signatures to appear on the ballot. Roanoke Commonwealth Attorney and special prosecutor Donald Caldwell continues to investigate accusations of criminal ballot fraud, as are the Virginia State Police. [21]

Tenure[edit]

During the government shutdown in early 2018, Taylor donated his salary to a military veteran's charity, stating it was "unconscionable" for Members of Congress to get paid while military, first responders, and civilian federal workers are not.[22]

In March 2018, Wallace Grove Godwin was arrested for threatening to murder Taylor. Taylor afterwards responded, "I call on everyone, and I mean everyone, to please calm down....We are all Americans."[23]

Political stances[edit]

Abortion[edit]

Taylor personally opposes abortion and opposes taxpayer funding of abortion but supports a woman's right to decide whether to have an abortion.[24]

Military[edit]

In April 2018, Taylor praised President Trump for the "measured" and "calculated" military action carried out under his direction in Syria in conjunction with the French and British. Taylor said that he was "torn" in regard to taking international military action, but in the case of Syria he felt that Trump "listened to his advisers".[25]

LGBT[edit]

Asked in 2010 about gays in the military, he said, "I encourage everyone to honorably serve in the military regardless of their sexual orientation. Heterosexual relationships are not permitted to take place while our men and women serve their country, so I believe this to be a completely political move."[1]

In September 2017, Taylor said he opposed the ban on transgender persons in the military. "If you are able to serve, serve," he said. "I don't care if you are gay, straight, transgender or not. If you are ready to go, cool." He added, however, that the military should not have to pay for gender-reassignment surgery.[26]

As of May 2017, Taylor is a cosponsor of H.R. 2282, the version of the Equality Act submitted in the House of Representatives during the 115th Congress.[27]

National security[edit]

Taylor supported President Donald Trump's 2017 executive order to impose a temporary ban on entry to the U.S. to citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries. He stated that "While I do not agree with some of the rhetoric, taking a pause, figuring out if we are properly vetting people, and making changes if necessary to continue our American principles is prudent and needed. The safety and protection of our citizens must remain our number one priority."[28]

Taylor was one of eighteen Republican congressmen to urge President Trump not to end Barack Obama's DACA policy.[29] He was one of 34 Republicans in Congress to sign a letter in 2017 supporting the DACA program. He has said repeatedly that Trump's rhetoric on illegal immigration harms the GOP.[30]

Cannabis legalization[edit]

On February 27, 2017, Taylor was an original cosponsor for bill H.R. 1227 – Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017.[31]

Healthcare[edit]

On May 4, 2017, Taylor voted Yes on H.R. 1628 (AHCA of 2017).[citation needed]

Energy and the environment[edit]

Taylor accepts that climate change is happening, but argues that there are questions as to humans' contribution to climate change.[24] Taylor said, "there are the questions about what man can do about" climate change.[24]

During Taylor's unsuccessful congressional primary campaign in 2010, he voiced support for offshore oil drilling along Virginia's coast.[32]

In 2018, after President Donald Trump announced plans to lift a ban on offshore oil drilling in the Atlantic Ocean, Taylor voiced his opposition, saying that drilling could interfere with military training and citing opposition from localities within his district.[33]

In January 2018, Taylor expressed opposition to President Trump's plan to allow offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean.[33]

Donald Trump[edit]

In February 2017, following Trump's likening of the intelligence community to Nazi Germany, Taylor said that President Donald Trump and the intelligence community "need to get on the same page very quickly."[34]

Asked about President Trump's expenditures of millions of taxpayer dollars on the travel and security of his family, Taylor said that the expenses were "a legitimate concern" but argued that the Obama family spent similar amounts.[24]

Book[edit]

He published a book in February 2015, Trust Betrayed: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and The Selling Out of America's National Security.[35] In his book, he criticized Vice President Joe Biden for revealing that it was SEAL Team Six that killed Osama bin Laden. He blamed the poor diplomatic security that led to the Benghazi fiasco on the Obama administration's desire for a "light footprint" in Libya, which in turn was caused by a foreign-policy doctrine that placed U.S. interests underneath partisan politics.[36]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Payne, Kimball (June 6, 2010). "BIO: Scott Taylor". Daily Press. Retrieved January 4, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b Leon, Melissa (April 20, 2018). "Congressman and former Navy SEAL takes selfie with his protestors". American Military News. 
  3. ^ "From the deserts of Yemen to DC: One freshman congressman's journey". Washington Examiner. December 30, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Two Harvard Extension School alumni elected to U.S. House of Representatives". Harvard Gazette. November 21, 2016. Retrieved June 21, 2018. 
  5. ^ "Scott Taylor to Run for Virginia's 2nd Congressional District Seat" (PDF). Scott Taylor for Congress. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 1, 2010. Retrieved August 22, 2012. 
  6. ^ Portnoy, Jenna (February 18, 2016). "Va. House vote hints at a generational divide on gay rights". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 15, 2016. 
  7. ^ Tapper, Jake (August 21, 2012). "President Obama Says He Doesn't Take Anti-Obama Navy SEALs Group "Too Seriously"". ABC News. 
  8. ^ McConnell, Dugald (August 17, 2012). "Former special forces officers slam Obama over leaks on bin Laden killing". CNN. 
  9. ^ Dilanian, Ken (August 16, 2012). "Group attacking Obama for security leaks includes past talkers". Los Angeles Times. 
  10. ^ Bartel, Bill; Parker, Stacy. "Scott Taylor defeats veteran Randy Forbes in 2nd Congressional primary thanks to feisty grassroots campaign". The Virginian-Pilot. Retrieved June 14, 2016. 
  11. ^ "Shaun Brown". Ballotpedia. Retrieved August 30, 2018. 
  12. ^ "Members". Republican Mains Street Partnership. Retrieved October 4, 2017. 
  13. ^ "Membership". Republican Study Committee. December 6, 2017. Retrieved August 15, 2018. 
  14. ^ "In US House Race, Former Navy Commander Targets Former SEAL". WBOC-TV. May 24, 2018. 
  15. ^ "Elaine Luria". Ballotpedia. Retrieved August 15, 2018. 
  16. ^ "Prosecutor will investigate candidate's ballot paperwork" Virginia Lawyers Weekly (August 13, 2018) p. 5
  17. ^ Ress, Dave. "More complaints of false names on petitions for Hampton candidate". Daily Press. Retrieved August 7, 2018. 
  18. ^ Bibeau, Paul (August 1, 2018). "Taylor Campaign Workers Helped Put Shaun Brown on the Ballot as an Independent Candidate". WHRO-FM. Retrieved August 7, 2018. 
  19. ^ Wilson, Patrick (August 6, 2018). "Names of dead man and voter who moved show up on petition Rep. Scott Taylor's staff gathered for independent candidate". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved August 1, 2018. 
  20. ^ Portnoy, Jenna (August 7, 2018). "Special prosecutor investigating possible election fraud in Rep. Scott Taylor's race". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 8, 2018. 
  21. ^ Richmond judge finds 'out-and-out fraud' in effort by Rep. Scott Taylor staff to get independent on ballot, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Patrick Wilson, September 5, 2018. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  22. ^ "Government shutdown: Ex-Navy SEAL donates congressional salary". Fox Business. January 22, 2018. 
  23. ^ "Man arrested, accused of threatening to kill his congressman". USA Today. March 23, 2018. 
  24. ^ a b c d Bartel, Bill. "Large crowd frequently shouts at Rep. Scott Taylor during contentious town hall meeting". The Virginian-Pilot. Retrieved July 25, 2018. 
  25. ^ "GOP Rep, Retired Navy SEAL: Trump's Syria Action 'Measured, Calculated'". Fox News. April 14, 2018. 
  26. ^ Hooper, Molly (September 26, 2017). "WATCH: Freshman GOP lawmaker and former Navy SEAL walks a careful line on transgender troops". The Hill. 
  27. ^ David, Cicilline, (2017-06-02). "Cosponsors - H.R.2282 - 115th Congress (2017-2018): Equality Act". www.congress.gov. Retrieved 2018-08-29. 
  28. ^ Blake, Aaron. "Coffman, Gardner join Republicans against President Trump's travel ban; here's where the rest stand". The Denver Post. Retrieved January 30, 2017. 
  29. ^ Starr, Penny. "It Begins: 18 Republicans Fall in Line to Oppose Trump's Elimination of DACA". Breitbart.com. Retrieved September 2, 2017. 
  30. ^ Philips, Judson (December 27, 2017). "Rep. Scott Taylor of Virginia and the missing investigation". The Washington Times. 
  31. ^ "Cosponsors: H.R.1227 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)". Congress.gov. July 25, 2017. Retrieved November 22, 2017. 
  32. ^ Ford, Jay (April 20, 2010). "Q&A: Republican Hopeful for US Congress, Scott Taylor". AltDaily.com. Retrieved January 19, 2018. 
  33. ^ a b Portnoy, Jenna (January 8, 2018). "Rep. Scott Taylor of Virginia Beach comes out against offshore drilling". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 19, 2018. 
  34. ^ Nelson, Louis (February 13, 2017). "Ex-Navy SEAL congressman: Trump and intel community need to get on the same page 'very quickly'". Politico. 
  35. ^ "Trust Betrayed: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and the Selling Out of America's National Security". Amazon.com. February 23, 2015. Retrieved July 17, 2016. 
  36. ^ Wallace, Allan (February 21, 2015). "Playing politics puts administration in ex-sniper's sights". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. 

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Scott Rigell
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 2nd congressional district

2017–present
Incumbent
Current U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Thomas Suozzi
United States Representatives by seniority
418th
Succeeded by
Claudia Tenney