Atlanta Journal-Constitution: David Scott on the dangers of giving up the war on gun violence
Posted by on June 20, 2015
By Jim Galloway - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
In 1974, six months after Hank Aaron hit the dinger that crowned him America’s home run king, his brother-in-law won a seat in the state House.
But baseball is not what defined the early political career of David Scott. That was accomplished by a disturbed young black man who walked into historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta one hot Sunday, some two months after No. 715.
The young man had intended to gun down Martin Luther “Daddy” King Sr., but couldn’t get close enough. So he shot and killed his wife, Alberta King, as she sat at the organ – then another congregant. Six years after the death of her son, Martin Luther King Jr., the city too busy to hate had gained a reputation as a heavily armed camp.
“That is what motivated me,” Scott, 68, said Thursday. “We were called a murder capital. The No. 1 issue was what we called Saturday night specials. Kids were using them. [Adults] could ride up to the high school, and sell them right there. If the police came and saw them, it was just a misdemeanor.”
Before moving on to Congress, Scott would spend nearly 30 years in the state Capitol, sponsoring gun bill after gun bill. He lost more often than he won, but one of his first victories was a measure that made the sale of a firearm to a minor a felony.
“My name was on it, but the little success we had was because the community rose up,” Scott said.
On Wednesday night, a disturbed, 21-year-old white man prayed with 10 black members of the historic Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C. Then he preyed on them, shooting nine dead, with the far-fetched intention of starting a white-on-black war.
The racial overtones of the incident make it different and terrifying. But otherwise, we are all familiar with the plot: A young man legally obtains one or more guns, and murders many people. Outrage ensues.
Except this time there was no White House call to the battlements. President Barack Obama quickly signaled that he would not tap his remaining political capital for another push to target gun violence – not as he did in 2012, after the elementary school massacre in Newtown, Conn., where 20 children and six adults died.
“It is in our power to do something about it. I say that recognizing the politics in this town foreclose a lot of those avenues right now,” he said. “But it would be wrong for us not to acknowledge it. And at some point, it’s going to be important for the American people to come to grips with it.”
The president’s tone was one of sadness, frustration — if not surrender. Which is why I put a call into Scott. His flight from Washington had just touched down, and the congressman was waiting for a line of thunderstorms to pass before he headed to the parking lot.
“It’s very depressing to see this. And I imagine that he’s so discouraged at this point,” Scott said. But he wished the president’s tone had been more positive.
“My fear is, if we throw up our hands to this, then people will react with a sense of alarm. Then it’s every man for himself,” Scott said. We would find ourselves tumbling toward a sidearm society.
“I’m not critical of the president’s response. I am understanding of it. I’ve gone through the trenches on this year after year. I’ve been discouraged,” he said. “But had I given up, we wouldn’t have what little we have now.”
One can argue that, when Scott worked at the state Capitol, he was the resident of a different world. The U.S. Supreme Court hadn’t yet decided that the Second Amendment was a guarantee that applied to individuals rather than a well-regulated militia. The National Rifle Association hadn’t quite locked down, nor was it pestered by even more conservative, competing groups that threatened to steal away its membership.
In 1989, a conservative governor — Joe Frank Harris — could propose a statewide ban on military-style assault weapons, even if it was at the tail end of his time in office. Twenty-six years later, another conservative governor – this one Nathan Deal – would be required to acknowledge that, yes, legislation he signed does give a fellow the right to stroll through Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport with an AR-15 and a hundred rounds of ammunition.
Scott was elected to Congress in 2002. He has had no success with gun legislation in Washington and doesn’t expect any. Obama was right about that. “If we come at this for more gun control, and all that kind of stuff, you’re just going to rile up the people at the NRA,” Scott said.
But there is always something to be done. And if the legislative climate doesn’t exist, Scott said, maybe we need to address the social climate. Parents, perhaps.
In the case of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, Scott pointed out, the disturbed miscreant’s mother made weaponry available to her son. How the Charleston shooter obtained a gun has yet to be pinned down. An uncle says the youth’s father gave him the .45-caliber pistol. Other reports say the father gave him the birthday cash, and the young man purchased the weapon himself.
Whatever. Socially, if not legally, we need to put more of a focus on the enablers, Scott said.
“When you go get a gun that’s going to kill people, there comes a very strong and righteous need for you to be responsible for that weapon. You’re the one that bought it, so you must be held responsible for it, to make sure it doesn’t get in the wrong hands,” Scott said. “This is what the pattern is.”
You can imagine the public service announcement: “Mom and Dad, if your son is borderline nuts, or harbors dreams of a racial apocalypse, do yourself and your neighbors a favor. Keep him away from live ammunition.”
Admittedly, this is a low bar. But to Scott’s point, the alternative is to do nothing. And to do nothing is to accept the current situation as our new normal.
Congressman David Scott to Keynote 28th Annual Summerhill Prayer Breakfast
Posted by on June 04, 2015
Congressman David Scott (GA-13) will provide keynote remarks at the 28th Annual Summerhill Prayer Breakfast. This annual event brings together current and former members of one of Atlanta’s oldest communities and supports the Summerhill Neighborhood Development Corporation’s efforts to revitalize the area and provide services for seniors and youth. Summerhill is located directly south of Downtown Atlanta, between the Atlanta Zoo and Turner Field, and is bordered by the neighborhoods of Grant Park, Mechanicsville, and Peoplestown. WAGA Fox 5 Atlanta’s Anchor Deidre Dukes will serve as Mistress of Ceremony for the Prayer Breakfast.
Thousands attend Congressman David Scott’s 12th annual job fair
Posted by on April 24, 2015
Published April 24, 2015
By Elizabeth Montgomery
Clayton News Daily
More than 15,000 people lined up in the Georgia International Convention Center with the hope of leaving with a job.
The annual jobs fair was started by Congressman David Scott 12 years ago. Friday’s event saw 70 employers including Georgia Power, Allied Barton Security, Clayton County Public Schools, Kroger, Emory and U.S. Foods looking to fill 5,522 jobs.
“If people would have told me a long time ago, what I know now —” said Sondra Rush, who arrived to the center an hour before the doors opened.
Rush was recently separated from her job at American Cyber Systems. She is looking for new employment.
“The job I had was sent to India, a lot of jobs are being outsourced” she said. “But the key is to find a job that’s going to look for you. Our generation, we have to depend on ourselves.”
Scott says you can depend on him and his partners, Camila Knowles of Georgia Department of Community Affairs and Leslie Wiggins, medical center director at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs who provided employment, health and benefits resources for veterans at the job fair.
Representatives from Home Safe Georgia, a federally funded mortgage payment assistance program, attended the job fair to deliver mortgage assistance to homeowners facing unemployment.
“People are struggling with mortgage payments, and we need to help that struggling homeowner,” said Knowles. “We have $140 million left and if we don’t get this out within 20 months it goes back to the treasurer.”
Knowles said 6,500 families across the state have taken advantage of the assistance.
Many job-seekers left Friday’s event with more than what they expected.
"Job fairs are like kryptonite for chefs,” said applicant Jeffery Moody. Moody has been a chef for 15 years and walked out of the job fair with an interview. “I have a cooking demo with Gate Gourmet next week,” he said.
New Committee Assignments
Posted by on January 27, 2015
At the beginning of each new session, the committees of the House meet to organize and establish the membership of the subcommittees. Congressman Scott has served on the House Committees on Agriculture and Financial Services since he was first elected. His current subcommittee assignments have now been approved. On committees, the lead member of the minority party of each subcommittee is called a ranking member. Congressman Scott will serve as the ranking member of the Agriculture Subcommittee on Commodities, Energy and Credit.
Congressman Scott serves on the following committees:
Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit
Areas of Jurisdiction: Policies, statutes, and markets relating to commodity exchanges; agricultural credit; rural development; energy; rural electrification.
Member, Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management
Areas of Jurisdiction: Policies, statutes, and markets relating to commodities including barley, cotton, cottonseed, corn, grain sorghum, honey, mohair, oats, other oilseeds, peanuts, pulse crops, rice, soybeans, sugar, wheat, and wool; the Commodity Credit Corporation; risk management policies and statutes, including Federal Crop Insurance; producer data and privacy issues.
Member, Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises
Areas of jurisdiction: U.S. capital markets, the securities industry, and government-sponsored enterprises, such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It also oversees the Securities and Exchange Commission and self-regulatory organizations, such as the New York Stock Exchange and the NASD, that police the securities markets.
Member, Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit
Areas of jurisdiction: financial regulators, such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Federal Reserve, all matters pertaining to consumer credit including the Consumer Credit Protection Act and access to financial services, as well as the safety and soundness of the banking system.
2015 Legislative Calendar
Posted by on November 19, 2014
If you are planning a trip to Washington in 2015, you may want to check out the new legislative calendar: http://www.democraticwhip.gov/sites/default/files/2015CALENDAR.pdf
One of the busiest tourist times of the year is during the Cherry Blossom Festival. You can see the dates for that event here: http://www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org/2014/05/29/2015-festival-dates-announced/
To learn more about tours, see my visitors page at: http://davidscott.house.gov/constituentservices/visitdc.htm
November is National Diabetes Month
Posted by on November 03, 2014
November is National Diabetes Month, and the perfect time to spotlight a disease that affects almost 30 million Americans regardless of age, race or background.
As a member of the Congressional Caucus on Diabetes, Congressman Scott has continuously supported legislation to improve research, education and treatment of Diabetes.
This year, several members of Congress, including Congressman Scott, requested $20 million to be allocated toward the National Diabetes Prevention Program (NDPP), a network of community programs based on the clinical trial to deliver proven and cost-effective lifestyle interventions to adults at high risk for Type 2 diabetes.
Additional current legislation on Diabetes includes H.R. 1257, the Preventing Diabetes in Medicare Act of 2013 to extend coverage to medical nutritional therapy services, and H.R. 1274, the Access to Quality Diabetes Education Act of 2013 to advocate for and educate public and health officials on the benefits of diabetes self management training.
While Congressman Scott is working in Washington to put a stop to Diabetes, there are some steps you can take to manage and prevent Diabetes at home.
A healthy lifestyle is the best form of management and prevention of Diabetes. Well balanced meals, regular exercise and proper treatment are vital to staying in control of this disease.
If left untreated or poorly managed, Diabetes can cause serious health complications. Those with diabetes are more likely to experience heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, and amputations.
Together we can work to prevent Diabetes by promoting awareness and education. To find out more information, visit the American Diabetes Association at www.diabetes.org.
Voter Registration and Voter ID
Posted by on October 01, 2014
Georgia voters have until October 6, to register to vote in the November 4 elections. If you moved or need to update your registration, this is the time to do that as well.
For more information about registration, visit the Georgia Secretary of State's website. To check on your registration status and find your polling location, visit: http://www.mvp.sos.ga.gov/
Do you have a valid ID for voting? If you are unsure, click this link to learn more about the Voter ID requirements.
Douglas Neighbor: ‘GOD’S WORK’ Congressman credits collaboration for roadway start
Posted by on September 03, 2014
By Bill Baldowski
District 13 U.S. Rep. David Scott, D-Jonesboro, said he views the Ga. Hwy. 92 relocation project in Douglasville as another example of “God’s work.”
In his address before more than 250 people attending last Friday’s groundbreaking ceremony for the project at Jessie Davis Park, Scott said the amount of cooperation and teamwork needed by Douglasville and Douglas County officials as well as state and national leaders to bring the project to fruition could not have been done unless, as he termed it, “God was in control.”
“When you do God’s work, you bring everyone together,” he said.
Scott was one of nine speakers to address the crowd on hand to see the ceremonial groundbreaking for the project.
The relocation portion for Hwy. 92 will be a 3.1-mile project which will include six lanes with acceleration and deceleration capabilities and state-of-the-art signalization technology at key intersections.
The most unique feature of the project, however, will be the underpass beneath the Norfolk Southern Railroad tracks, Bankhead Highway and Strickland Street, said city of Douglasville spokesperson Kellie Hunter.
“The underpass will provide seamless connectivity for daily commuters and emergency vehicles,” Hunter said.
Most importantly, the underpass will provide Douglasville and Douglas County emergency responders easy access to WellStar Douglas Hospital, she said.
Douglasville Mayor Harvey Persons called the Hwy. 92 relocation project an event that had been in the making for 30 years.
Persons said when construction is completed as scheduled in 2018, Douglasville will have available “a greatly needed, and long-awaited, six-lane highway running north-south through our city, which will include our community’s first grade-separation railroad crossing.”
Persons echoed Scott’s belief that collaboration was the key to the transportation project.
Although the congressman said he appreciated the accolades he had received in bringing this project to reality, he said he had “a whole lot of help from many individuals, including Georgia’s congressional delegation, in moving this project from a vision to what we are celebrating here today, its reality.”
“We are standing here on the big shoulders of those who came before us and sustained this vision,” Scott said.
Clayton News Daily: U.S. Rep. David Scott’s 10th Annual Health Fair to focus on veterans
Posted by on August 15, 2014
By Cailin O’Brien
JONESBORO — The Atlanta Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center and Atlanta Veteran’s Affairs Regional Office will participate in U.S. Rep. David Scott’s 10th Annual Health Fair for the first time this weekend.
The VA will be on site at Mundy’s Mill High School, 9652 Fayetteville Road, Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. to offer free counseling for post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health services during the event. Health eligibility representatives will also be on site to help schedule appointments for veterans whose names are on waiting lists.
Scott said he brought the VA into the health fair as part of his bigger effort to assure soldiers coming home from battle get the help they need.
“Our veterans are the heart and soul of this country and we have to do better for them,” he said. “Ever since I’ve been on this, we’ve had a serious problem. It is both a crisis and a shame — a national crisis and a national shame — the way our vets have been treated.”
Scott helped pass the Ensuring Veterans Resiliency Act, a $17 billion bill aimed at helping veterans get mental health services. He said he was moved to author the bill after discovering that about 6,000 veterans commit suicide each year.
“That’s my proudest achievement since I’ve been in this position — helping to cut down on these suicides,” he said.
This year’s health fair will also feature HomeSafe Georgia, a company that can deliver mortgage assistance to homeowners facing unemployment, a death in the family, sickness or other debilitating problems that could affect their financial situation.
Scott said this service could also help struggling veterans.
“Many of them receive notices on the battlefield that their mortgages are in trouble,” he said.
But this year’s health fair isn’t just for veterans. Scott said he wants to invite all residents to come out and get a free check-up. Participants can come out to be screened for prostate cancer, breast cancer, HIV/Aids, diabetes, healthy blood pressure, asthma, cholesterol, mental health problems, memory problems and sickle cell anemia.
Residents can also check up on their visual and dental health.
Scott said he was proud of this year’s fair. He said he wanted to thank his staff for helping him to set the whole thing up and the health vendors for agreeing to offer their services for free.
“This is a community effort — a real team effort,” he said.
Now all the fair needs is resident participation. Scott urged all his constituents to attend.
“You can have all the money in the world,” he said. “You can have the best of everything, but if you don’t have your health and your strength, then it’s inconsequential in terms of your happiness.”
Here’s a list of vendors who will participate in this year’s health fair:
More information is available at: Clayton News Daily: U.S. Rep. David Scott’s 10th Annual Health Fair to focus on veterans.
Improving Your Credit Score
Posted by on August 12, 2014
About half of all unpaid collections on consumers’ credit reports are medical debts. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a research report earlier this year that found consumers’ credit scores may be overly penalized for medical debt that goes into collections and shows up on their credit report.
FICO recently announced that would no longer weigh medical debts as part of the company's widely-used credit scores. The newer FICO scores will also ignore any collections that have already been paid. These changes may not dramatically change your credit score, but it could help secure a better interest rate for a loan.
FICO scores are just one type of credit score based on a consumer's credit history. In addition to paying bills on time, the CFPB has listed several ways to improve your credit history and also has a link to complain about inaccurate credit reports.
Keep track of your credit report by requesting a free credit report. Congressman Scott helped pass the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (P.L. 108-159) which allowed Americans to request a free credit report from each of the credit reporting bureaus each year. Georgia residents are able to request two free credit reports since state law had previously allowed for two reports a year.
Have a complaint about your credit report? You can contact the CFPB for assistance at: https://help.consumerfinance.gov/app/creditreporting/ask
What are your experiences with checking your credit history? Was the information accurate?