My first year representing the beautiful 1st district of South Carolina has certainly been an interesting one. The House Republican freshman class, which I am proud to be a part of, has worked hard to change the culture of spending in Washington, D.C., and to restore a sense of fiscal sanity.
However, the one thing I have gleaned more clearly than any other was just how powerful the voice of the American people, and in my case the people of Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Conway and the rest of the 1st, really is. I have learned as much or more from my constituents as I have from anyone in Washington because they truly care about the future of our great nation.
From day one in January 2011, they have reinforced what I was sent here to do ó represent them. When I am home in South Carolina, I always enjoy chatting with constituents at restaurants, grocery stores, movie theaters and wherever else I may be. And when Iím in Washington, I have had the opportunity to correspond with thousands of my constituents through emails and phone calls, and though we may not always agree, I know I appreciate the opportunity to hear the thoughts and concerns of my fellow South Carolinians. So far Iíve only been hung up on a few times, so I hope Iím doing something right.
I have had the honor of presenting a Silver Star to retired U.S. Army Capt. E. Evans Kayser Jr. for his heroic service in Vietnam ó a story I may never have heard without being elected to Congress. That was truly a day I will always remember and was an important reminder that weíre surrounded by heroes every day.
My constituents have been a guiding force in my policy decisions as well. The National Labor Relations Boardís ridiculous decision to sue the Boeing Co. directly affected my district and my constituents, forcing us to take the lead against the NLRBís job-killing agenda. The precedent set in Charleston has the potential to affect business decisions on facility locations throughout the country. While encouraged by our initial success, Iím committed to preserving the concept of statesí right-to-work laws.
The districtís residents joined millions across the country in voicing their opposition to the overreaching mandates of the Obama administrationís health care legislation. With this clear mandate, my first vote as a Member was to repeal Obamacare, and Iíll continue to work toward its abolishment.
Our stateís high unemployment rate remains a major point of concern. I have joined my Republican colleagues in the House fighting against many other job-killing overreaching federal regulations for the past year as well. But instead of just joining from a purely rhetorical standpoint, we went out into the district and talked to job creators, employees and others who have been affected by these regulations.
Without doing this, I wouldnít have learned that a proposed new federal trucking rule will cost a small business in Charleston 5,200 miles a day of driving or that new federal fishing catch limits will cost some of our fishermen nearly $30,000 a year. An email I received from a constituent helped show us that new energy restrictions on home fireplaces ó thatís right, your living room fireplace ó could cost at least 10,000 jobs nationally.
One of the questions most frequently asked of me concerns the federal government and the continued spending of money we donít have. Iím confident that Americans are committed to stopping this runaway spending train. A balanced budget amendment is a major part of the solution. I strongly support it as a means to get our financial house in order. We must be bound to limits on taxation and spending, and the balanced approach is the best approach.
As I prepare to begin the second year of my first term, the people I represent in the South Carolina lowcountry truly are what motivates me to get up and go to work every single day. I am humbled they gave me the opportunity to serve, and they deserve no less than my full attention every day.
Rep. Tim Scott is a member of the Rules Committee.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.