Bobby Scott (D), running for U.S. House of Representatives in Virginia’s 3rd District
1. Why are you running for office?
I have worked hard to improve our community by ensuring that our government is providing quality education for all, affordable healthcare and college tuition, and an economy that takes care of our working families. Although we have made great progress, there is still much work to be done.
2. Why should people vote for you?
I have been a successful representative and advocate for the citizens of Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District. In this term of Congress, I worked with Republicans and Democrats and was one of the four primary negotiators of the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act, which replaced the No Child Left behind Act and will provide support for our nation’s public school students. I have also been a leader on criminal justice reform, again working with Republicans and Democrats on evidence-based solutions. I partnered with Republican Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner to author the SAFE Justice Act, which has been heralded as one of the most comprehensive reforms to our nation’s broken criminal justice system. I have also introduced the Raise the Wage Act to raise the federal minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020. My bill has 175 supporters in Congress. If reelected to Congress, I will continue to be a fighter for our community in Congress.
3. What’s your favorite thing about the area you want to represent?
The new 3rd congressional district contains the cultural and historical core of Hampton Roads. The diversity of our area, both in its people and the things to do, is what makes Hampton Roads probably the greatest place to live in the country. No matter where you are in Hampton Roads, you’re not far from the beach, a state or national park, great museums, and important national historical sites. We have world class colleges and universities, and advance medical and research facilities. And we’re home to hundreds of thousands of veterans, military personnel and their families. All these things make Hampton Roads a great place to live, work and raise a family.
4. What is the biggest problem your area is facing, how will you fix it?
The biggest issue facing Hampton Roads is the continued threat of automatic across-the-board spending cuts, commonly known as sequestration. I voted against the Budget Control Act that mandated these cuts. Sequestration threatens our region’s military assets, harms readiness, and hurts our shipyards. But sequestration also threatens our non-defense interests, such as delaying research at NASA Langley and Jefferson Lab, reducing access to Head Start, decreasing federal funding for our area’s public schools, and limiting investments in our region’s infrastructure.
Congress’s failure to deal with sequestration is predicated on the current majority’s inability to make tough choices when it comes to the federal budget. Tax cuts that primarily benefit the wealthy are too often the top priority for the current leadership in Congress rather than trying to find a path forward to cancel sequestration. We know how to deal with sequestration, but it won’t be easy. Spending cuts alone are not the answer. We would have to cut approximately $1 trillion to cancel sequestration just with spending cuts, and that magnitude has proved to be far too great that no one would want to be associated with such draconian cuts. We’ll have to cut some spending and raise new revenues in order to cancel sequestration. But I think if Congress thoughtfully explained to the American people the choices we will have to make, such as do we cut Social Security benefits or cancel an aircraft carrier or should we close some special interest tax loopholes instead, then we will be better situated to deal with this issue. I’ll be open and honest with the citizens of the 3rd Congressional District on the choices we have to make to cancel sequestration.
5. Describe Donald Trump in max 3 words?
Erratic, Unqualified, and uninformed
6. Describe Hillary Clinton in max 3 words?
Experienced, Knowledgeable and Effective.
7. What do you do for a living? Why do you do it?
My parents instilled in me the importance of serving others. That’s why during law school, I joined the National Guard and later served in the Army Reserve. After graduating law school, I returned home to Newport News to practice law, which I did for nearly two decades. And to ensure representation of those unable to afford an attorney, I founded the Peninsula Legal Aid Center in the 1970s. I also served 15 years in the Virginia General Assembly prior to service in Congress.
8. You’re going to be marooned on a tropical island for a week, you can only bring 1 thing – what is it?
A computer with a good internet connection.
9. What do you think of Colin Kaepernick?
I think he is an advocate for a cause worthy of our attention and a substantive response from elected leaders at all levels of government. We should focus more on the substance of his cause rather than the form of his protest.
10. Would you vote to fund light rail expansion in your area?
I worked in Congress to bring light rail to Norfolk and to ensure that the Federal government would share in its cost. Public transportation has to be a component of our region’s efforts to address congestion. I would like to see light rail expanded to Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, and to the Peninsula.
11. Will you respect the outcome of the election?
Absolutely. The peaceful transition of power in our country is what has made our democracy so strong and durable for the last 240 plus years.
12. Favorite TV Show?
House of Cards. It’s nothing like the real world, but still entertaining.