WASHINGTON, Dec. 17, 2012- South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) held a news conference today where she announced Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC) will replace retiring Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) in January.

Agri-Pulse interviewed Scott as a House GOP freshman after the 2010 election. To view his comments on Washington politics as well as agricultural policy issues, click here.

DeMint announced earlier this month that he would retire during his second Senate term to run the Heritage Foundation, a conservative research group based in Washington.

“I can walk away from the Senate knowing that someone is in this seat that is better than I am,” DeMint said today. “Someone that will carry the voice of opportunity and conservatism to the whole country in a way I couldn’t do.”

Scott, a member of the House Republican Study Committee, holds a similar voting record as Senator DeMint. Haley’s appointment also places the Senator-elect as the only current black member of the Senate, and the first from South Carolina. He will serve in the Senate until he runs for his seat in 2014.

“You are going to see the Senate become stronger because of his results not because of what he looks like,” Gov. Haley noted. “I want to remind everybody it is not about the messenger, it is about the message. And Tim Scott has the right message.”

Haley said one of the reasons she appointed Scott is “he understands the strength we need to have in our business community as we continue to focus on jobs.”

Scott said his objective in the Senate starts with tax reform and spending control. “When spending reform is so far removed from the conversation, you’re definitely on the wrong track. We have to look at pro-growth principles,” he said.

“We have a spending problem in America, ladies and gentlemen, not a revenue problem,” Scott added. “You can do all the revenue reform on the top two percent and simply could not close the annual deficit.”

The senior senator from South Carolina, Lindsay Graham (R), said of Scott, “he’ll be a great senator, because he’s a better person than he is a politician.”

“You have unique opportunity for the conservative cause and you have a unique burden,” Graham said to Scott during the announcement. “2013 is going to be one heck of a challenge and one thing I can tell you about Tim is he understands math. If you spend more than you make at any one time you’re going to destroy the American dream.”

During the press conference, Scott shared his background on being raised by a single mother, as well as ties to his Christian faith. On gaining the Senate seat, he said “I have been afforded one of greatest opportunities in the world.”


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