Black History Month - Georgia's First Black Congressman
Posted by on February 2, 2016
In honor of Black history month, I will be profiling notable African Americans from Georgia throughout February. The first profile is of the first African American elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Georgia, Congressman Jefferson Long of Macon.
Born on March 3, 1836 in Knoxville, Georgia, Jefferson Long would go on to become the second African American elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and ultimately the first African American Congressman to speak on the House floor.
Long made his living as a tailor, opening a small but successful shop in Macon, Georgia, mostly catering to the affluent white population. Through his well-to-do clientele’s connections, Long was able to break into politics.
Immediately following the Civil War, a factional divide broke out within the Republican Party. While the Confederate states had rejoined the Union, radical Republicans placed harsh penalties on the former Confederate states. As a result, from 1865-1877, many districts in the south became safe Republican districts. Using this to their advantage, Georgia Republicans encouraged black candidates to run for shortened office terms and Jefferson Long began campaigning for the U.S. House of Representatives.
On the night before the election, Long furiously orchestrated a last minute campaign blitz across the district, urging blacks to support the Republican ticket. The next day, Long organized a march to the polls, where he was met by armed white southerners. A riot ensued, killing four and preventing a number of blacks from voting. Despite this fact, Long won 53 percent of the vote and narrowly defeated the Democratic candidate Winburn J. Lawton. Congressman Jefferson Long took his seat in the House of Representatives one month after Congressman Joseph Rainey of South Carolina, making him the 2nd African-American elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
On February 1, 1871, he would become the first African-American to speak on the House floor when he spoke out against allowing former Confederates to return to Congress. The measure was ultimately defeated and after serving three months in Congress, Long returned to life as a private citizen while remaining an active part of the radical Republican wing in Georgia.
Long would be the last African-American Representative elected from Georgia until Congressman Andrew Young defeated Republican Rodney Cook in 1972. That campaign was my first real introduction into elected politics. I volunteered for the Andrew Young campaign and two years later, I ran my own race for the Georgia House of Representatives. Then-Congressman Andrew Young helped me win that seat. In 2002, I was elected to US Congress. Andrew Young was yet again, part of my successful leadership team.
Jefferson Franklin Long" in Black Americans in Congress, 1870-2007. Prepared under the direction of the Committee on House Administration by the Office of History & Preservation, U.S. House of Representatives. Washington: Government Printing Office, 2008.
Image courtesy of georgiaencyclopedia.org
Recognizing World AIDS Day
Posted by on December 1, 2015
As we recognize the 28th World AIDS Day, we have much progress to celebrate. We also have new challenges to address.
Consider that the CDC ranks Atlanta as 5th in the nation with new HIV infections and the South ranks first in the nation for its rate of new HIV cases. In 2013, the South had a rate of 20.5 HIV infections per 100,000 residents.
Compared with members of other races and ethnicities, African Americans account for a higher proportion of HIV infections at all stages of disease from new infections to deaths. According to the CDC, African Americans accounted for 44 percent of all new HIV infections in that year. In Georgia, African Americans represented 30 percent of the total population in 2009, but 74 percent of all diagnosed HIV cases.
Congressman Scott is a strong advocate for awareness and prevention of HIV/AIDS. He was a leader as a member of the Georgia State Senate in writing the first sex education program in Georgia. Each year, hundreds of AIDS tests are provided to district residents for free at his health fair by partners like AID Atlanta and the Clayton County Community Services Board. At the 2015 event, 125 HIV tests were conducted and in 2014, 203 tests were conducted.
Do you know your HIV status? If you don’t, please get tested.
For more information about HIV/AIDS, please visit the comprehensive website: www.aids.gov
HIV/AIDS related legislation co-sponsored by Congressman Scott in 2015:
HR 1706: Real Education for Healthy Youth Act of 2015
HR 6: 21st century Cures Act
Rep. Scott Signed Letters to Appropriations Committees In Support of AIDS Research and Programs:
Adolescent Sexual Education and Pregnancy Prevention - Programmatic funding for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative (TPPI), the Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH), and the elimination of funding for the ineffective abstinence-only-until-marriage (AOUM) grant program in FY2016.
National Institutes of Health Funding - The National Institutes of Health are our nation’s preeminent medical research centers and represent our best hope for finding cures, improving treatments, and gaining a better understanding of the diseases and conditions that affect millions of Americans. NIH research is a critical part of meeting health care challenges, strengthening our economy, inspiring the next generation of scientists, and maintaining our nation’s leadership in innovation. Continued investment in the NIH can leverage existing resources for maximum impact and will build on current progress to further help the American public.
Title X Family Planning Services - Far beyond just family planning services, Title X provides critical access to preventive health care services such as breast and cervical cancer screenings, HIV tests and immunizations. For many of the patients Title X serves, this program is the only source they can rely on for these services.
HIV/AIDs Prevention - The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program works with cities, states, and local community-based organizations to provide services to an estimated 536,000 people each year who do not have sufficient health care coverage or financial resources to cope with HIV disease. The majority of Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program funds support primary medical care and essential support services. A smaller but equally critical portion is used to fund technical assistance, clinical training, and the development of innovative models of care.
You Can Start Saving For Retirement With MyRA
Posted by on November 23, 2015
Many people have not begun saving for retirement. Maybe their employer does not offer a retirement plan or they do not know how to get started. A new government savings plan has been started that allows anyone to start saving with just a few dollars. This plan was created specifically for those people who have not started saving.
It costs nothing to open a MyRA plan and there are no fees. The investments are backed by the Treasury. You can withdraw the funds at any time. However, it would be best to continue building the account so that one day it can be converted to a traditional or Roth IRA. Try several savings ideas using the online calculator.
To learn more, visit https://myra.gov/
Low income earners who save money in their work sponsored retirement plan or contribute to a savings plan like an IRA are eligible for a tax credit. The credit is based on your adjusted gross income for the year. To learn more, visit the IRS Savers Credit page.
Rep. Scott Addresses Visa Waiver Program Security Gaps
Posted by on November 20, 2015
Terrorists in recent attacks have travelled to Syria and Iraq with European passports. Many western countries participate in the visa waiver program with the U.S. This program allows for visa-free travel to the U.S. for up to 90 days under specific guidelines. Each year, almost a third of temporary visitors to the US travel under these waivers.
Congresswoman Scott joined as a co-sponsor of a new bi-partisan bill (H.R. 4122), which would strengthen U.S. security by addressing security gaps in the visa waiver program.
H.R. 4122 would suspend the visa waiver program for travelers who have visited a country designated as a state sponsor of terror (Iran, Sudan, Syria) in the last five years. The bill also includes visits to a countries with active global terror networks (Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Nigeria). The Secretary of State would be able to add additional countries if there is a known threat.
UPDATE: On December 8, Congressman Scott joined the House in overwhelmingly approving the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act (H.R. 158), by a vote of 407-19. This legislation will help the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) identify and stop terrorists with Western passports from entering the United States. It would require countries participating in the visa waiver program to continually share terrorism and foreign traveler data with the U.S. and screen all passengers against all INTERPOL databases and notices. The Senate is expected to approve H.R. 158. To track this legislation or other bills, visit https://www.congress.gov/
USDA Announces $18 million grants for 1890 schools
Posted by on November 17, 2015
Earlier this year, Congressman Scott lead an effort to bring the 1890 Land Grant institutions to Washington to testify before the House Agriculture Committee. This was the first time that 1890 schools were asked to testify before the committee.
The Second Morrill Act of 1890 was enacted by Congress to support states in establishing the 1890 Land-Grant Universities. These Historically Black Colleges and Universities are committed to providing educational opportunity through scientific research and extension programs. There are nineteen 1890 schools which cultivate leadership in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics and agriculture.
On Novever 16, USDA announced 53 grants totaling more than $18 million to support research, teaching, and extension activities at 1890 historically black land-grant colleges and universities. To see the full list of grants, click this link.
Congressman David Scott Welcomes 1890 Universities to Washington
Posted by on July 13, 2015
WHAT: Congressman David Scott welcomes the 1890 Land-Grant institutions to Washington, D.C. The presidents of all 19 universities designated as an 1890 Land-Grant institution will attend a hearing by the House Agriculture Committee on the 125th Anniversary of the Second Morrill Act. That Act created the 1890 Land-Grants. Six presidents will testify before the committee. This is the first time that the Committee has held a hearing exclusively on 1890 institutions.
WHEN: Wednesday, July 15, 2015, 10:00 a.m.
WHERE: 1300 Longworth House Office Building
WHO: Testimony of the following 1890 Presidents: Dr. George C. Wright, President, Prairie View A & M University; Dr. Jessica M. Bailey, Interim President, Fort Valley State University; Dr. Brian L. Johnson, President Tuskegee University; Dr. Harold L. Martin, Sr. Chancellor, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University; President Elmira Mangum, Florida A&M University; Dr. Juliette B. Bell, President, University of Maryland Eastern Shore.
What an Iran nuke deal must never do
Posted by on July 7, 2015
The deadline for an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program is rapidly approaching. Several failing states in the Middle East are being overrun with terrorist groups and Iran is influencing these civil wars directly and by proxy like the Houthis in Yemen, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria and controlling the army in Iraq. Many of our allies in the region fear that Iran will dominate the entire Middle East. The U.S. must continue to fully enforce sanctions until any Iran nuclear weapons option is completely eliminated.
You can read the rest of my article which appears on CNN.com
Marietta Daily Journal: Georgia lawmakers decry health care ruling
Posted by on June 26, 2015
by Ricky Leroux June 26, 2015 12:20 AM
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 4, 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.