Editor’s note: The following is a transcript of Senator Tim Scott’s remarks upon receiving the Gentleman of Distinction Award, delivered at the 2021 Annual Awards Gala.
Abby Moffat: What an honor to have with us this evening Senator Tim Scott, a servant leader, a statesman, a patriot, a successful entrepreneur, and a man of unshakeable faith. When the committee gathered, it was an easy decision to bestow on him the Gentleman of Distinction Award, which celebrates a gentleman who is committed to protecting and defending our American values, a man who works to create stronger and a safer society. While remaining steadfast in his beliefs, Senator Tim Scott exemplifies a commitment to respect and civil discourse. He is an advocate for limited government, economic liberty, and personal freedom, and promotes equal opportunities for women and men. Ladies, we are so blessed tonight to be in the presence of men who honor women. Leading the way tonight is the Gentleman of Distinction, Senator Tim Scott. Those of us who have seen him soar really have to thank his mother, Frances Scott, who is joining us on video this evening, who showed Tim when you shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you will be among the stars. Thank you, Frances. Mrs. Scott is truly a role model. She has always believed in him and saw the entrepreneurial spirit that he had, regardless of the many challenges they faced in a single-parent home. The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in the Scott family. His mother founded a nonprofit organization, Raising Up the Lowcountry, which is a mighty group that is committed to helping single moms and supporting working single moms. In addition to imparting her wisdom, her entrepreneurial spirit, Mrs. Scott is determined to help women discover their worth, find their true healing, and create a better tomorrow today. Frances Scott’s work ethic and perseverance are clearly in her son’s DNA. Before he went into politics, he was an entrepreneur. At first, when Tim started Allstate Insurance Brokerage Firm, nobody came. But that didn’t stop him. By the second year, he became a top seller in the State of South Carolina. As Mrs. Scott said on many occasions, when you shoot for the moon, you will be among the stars. Senator Scott isn’t just among the stars, he is a star. He is our ally in Congress who understands the importance of kitchen table issues, health care, jobs, and all the things that matter to Americans. Opportunity zones are not just a slogan for Senator Tim Scott, it’s an agenda, but a way to make the American dream work for so many hardworking families. Senator Scott, we greatly appreciate your defense of liberty and the Constitution, and your willingness to stand up and defend the American dream. We applaud how you seek to preserve and defend the noble goal of a colorblind society that sees all people as unique individuals worthy of respect and opportunity and reject the movement to divide us into identity groups. We are inspired by the courage and grace you have shown in the face of cruel and demeaning attacks. We are so grateful that you have been a leading force advocating for government to reopen our schools and businesses in the wake of COVID-19. Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, IWF’s 2021 Gentleman of Distinction, Senator Tim Scott.
Senator Tim Scott: Thank you very much. That was so good, y’all. Good job to the band. Awesome. God bless y’all. Good evening. How’s everybody doing out there? Awesome. Isn’t it good to be an American? I’ll tell you what, I will say I was standing back there listening to some of the introductions and the opening comments and I will say without any question I am a guy who is blessed with powerful, positive women all around me. I am a blessed man. So, I already heard that y’all mentioned a few of them, but I do want to say two things before I get started. Abby, wherever you went, there you are. Thank you for the introduction, number one. And Abby’s son Spencer has joined the Army this past Sunday, so talk about patriotism. Young people who want to serve the greatest nation on Earth come out of households who respect, stand for our flag, and understand and appreciate that sacrifice requires people to go into harm’s way on our behalf. Thank you, Abby, for the way you raised Spencer. God bless you. I know that I have Sara and Neri, will you both stand up? My staff director and my number two on the aging committee. Thank you both for being here. Thank you both. I will say it’s one thing to talk about doing the right thing and empowering women. We have to lead by example, men. Men in this room, we have to lead by example. And I am thankful that my comms director, my press secretary, my chief of staff, my deputy chief of staff, my staff director, and my number two on the aging committee are all powerful, positive women. Now, this didn’t just happen. This happened because I have a great mama, as Abby talked about my mama, now she is watching tonight, now I’m a little nervous. Mom, I’m sorry I didn’t invite you to be here tonight, my bad. Anyways, just joking. She had to work today so she couldn’t make it. But I’ll say as a kid who was raised in a single-parent household mired in poverty, my number one hero was my mom. She worked sixteen hours a day three days a week, and eight hours a day two days a week as a nurse’s aide. That means that she basically changed bedpans and rolled patients for those hours every single week. She always wanted her two sons to understand that there’s dignity in all work. And she was a living, breathing example. She was the epitome of hope, the personification that all things were possible under the worst conditions. And my mom today is still my American hero, and I will say that without any question she taught me some really important things. Number one, she taught me that never ever can you surrender. You never give up. As Abby said during the introductory remarks, if you shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you will be among the stars. Now, that is such a powerful force of encouragement. It was really important for me to hear those voices, her voice over and over again. I was a kid that my mother had to wrestle with. Anybody in here have a couple kids? Anybody have a couple kids? Any of y’all have like one kid who’s almost perfect? That was not me. I was the mischievous, imperfect, stubborn, rambunctious kid and unfortunately for me, as a freshman in high school with all that extra energy I was not always shooting for the moon. I was not among the stars. I failed out as a freshman. So, picture this, if you will: A lady who works fifty, sixty hours a week and on the weekend, she picks up jobs cleaning someone’s house just to make the ends meet. She comes home, she looks at my report card, she looks at me, report card, me. She says, “Sonny,” – I said, “Yes, ma’am, shoot for the moon and even if I miss, I’ll be among the stars.” She said, “No, sweetheart. You missed that lesson.” So, she walks me outside to a tree, you know where I’m going, this is good. She says, “Pick a branch, sweetheart.” So, I chose a branch. She said, “Take the leaves off.” My mother, for those of you not from the South, introduced me to a different form of encouragement. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, a switch is a Southern form of encouragement. She applied it liberally from my belt to my ankles and I was thoroughly encouraged. And anytime you end up as a United States Senator after failing civics in high school, you know you have an amazing mama. So, that’s for sure. I will say this without any question: After eight years in the Senate, I am not the only one failing civics in the United States Senate. I mean, think about it. My mom worked those sixteen hours a day for a little bit more than minimum wage and now we are here in a culture where the Biden administration wants to literally watch her spending power go down as inflation goes up. The amount of money that we have pumped into this economy this year has made struggling families like the one I grew up in struggle even more. We have seen a 2% increase in wages but 6% increase in inflation. We have seen your gas prices go from $1.99 in December to $3.42 this past Monday. For families growing up like the one I grew up in, this is a catastrophic occurrence. The last thing we need is another spending package that puts more heat into an economy that is already overheating. But if the cost wasn’t bad enough – thank you – if the cost wasn’t bad enough, the content of these spending bills makes it even harder for kids today growing up in poverty to find an escape route. Think about taking money out of Frances Scott’s paycheck in order to provide a $12,500 tax credit for people making $800,000 a year to go buy an electric vehicle. Think about discriminating against South Carolina autoworkers at Volvo, BMW, or Mercedes when they build electric vehicles, because they are not in a union plant, they don’t get the $4,500 tax credit for every car that comes off of their assembly line. Exactly. But if you’re in some other place in a union factory, you get the $4,500 tax credit. Think about $80 billion for the IRS to double the number of agents to spy on your accounts. Now, I haven’t really become accustomed to booing, but I kind of feel good about this one. This is really, really good. So, I think of all economic policy positions that we take as a nation through the prism of a seven-year-old kid living with my grandparents in a two-bedroom house with me, my mother, my brother sharing one bedroom. I think about the devastation and the damage we are doing to the future of those kids. I think about the fact that we are playing with real people’s money, asking them to swallow more inflation, have less money to spend, and take care of their families. It’s the wrong direction. I think about the fact that when the Republican Party and Conservatives are divided, it is the road straight that leads to socialism. I think then I’ll wake up, start looking around, and I’m excited and I’m encouraged, because when I look around this room, I think about the fact that this time next year we will have won back the House of Representatives. I have a dream that next year, not only do we win back the House, but with an itsy, little bitty luck, we win back the Senate. And then Katy, bar the door! 2024. With only forty seconds left – I’m watching the game clock too – the ball is at the two. We won the House back, we won the Senate back, we are now on the two-yard line. It’s 2024, fourth quarter, all the time is expiring right now as it is, as I’m speaking way too long. They told me I had an hour, but the clock says eight more minutes. Anyways, it actually says 22 seconds. Yes! So, do we score, or do we not score? Here’s the answer: We score, we win the White House back in 2024, we control all three levers of government, and we reset the table for the poorest Americans in this country, we restore hope, we create opportunities. God bless you. Thank you so much for the award! Have a good night.