South Carolina Congressman Tim Scott will become the first African-American senator from the state. Governor Nikki Haley chose him Monday to replace Senator Jim DeMint, who is resigning to run a conservative think tank. WFAE’s Michael Tomsic was at the announcement in Columbia. Here’s a transcript of his segment with WFAE’s Mark Rumsey:
MARK: Michael, did Governor Haley or Scott address race in their comments?
MICHAEL: Haley recognized that South Carolina made history today – she said so herself. As you mentioned, Scott will be the first African-American senator from South Carolina and he’ll also be the first African-American senator from the South since Reconstruction in the 1800s. He’s also the first black Republican U.S. Senator in more than 30 years.
But Haley downplayed the role of race.
“You’re going to see the U.S. Senate become stronger because of the results of Tim Scott, not because of what he looks like. So this is not, that’s why I said he earned this spot,” Haley said.
MICHAEL: And Scott, for his part, said his background means much more than his race:
“When you start out in a single parent household, with a mom who works 16 hours a day, and you’re looking at a future that doesn’t look as bright, and you’re living in North Charleston, South Carolina, you build the strength that comes from having the appreciation and understanding that it’s not about you. It’s about your faith. It’s about your family,” Scott said.
MICHAEL: The closest anyone got to directly addressing what it means for a Republican African-American to have such a prominent position in the government was Senator Lindsey Graham. He said Scott can inspire kids in a way that’s unique.
MARK: Let’s move on to policy. Scott won office two years ago behind a lot of support from the Tea Party. What did he say today about the issues he’ll focus on in the Senate?
MICHAEL: Policy wise, Scott made it clear he is not a fan of raising revenues. He says he learned from his business experience in his 20s that there’s no amount of revenue you can raise to balance a budget when you’re spending too much:
“We have a spending problem, ladies and gentleman, in America, and not a revenue problem. So it’s very difficult for us to fix the problems in a nation with $16 trillion of debt, with an annual deficit of more than a trillion dollars, by simply talking about raising revenues on the top 2 percent.”
So clearly he’s not a fan of the president’s plan to raise taxes on the wealthy – at least not as the only solution to solving the country’s fiscal problems.