Scott, David 1946–
David Scott 1946–
U.S. congressional representative
“David Scott could become the model for a new breed of Democrat,” noted the Atlanta Journal-Constitution after Scott won election to the United States House of Representatives in November of 2002. Scott, who supported U.S. intervention in Iraq and backed President George W. Bush’s tax cuts in 2003, was a political moderate whose views diverged in many respects from the liberal ideals held by most of his African-American cohorts in Congress. Yet Scott was not always easy to classify. An independent thinker over his long career in Georgia’s state legislature, Scott gained a reputation for staking out causes of his own and pursuing them until he saw his ideas realized as laws.
David Scott was born in Aynor, South Carolina, on June 27, 1946. His father was a minister who also worked as a butler and chauffeur, and his mother was a cook and a domestic worker. As a young man Scott lived in various places, sometimes with grandparents, while his parents moved around as well-paying jobs presented themselves. When Scott was in junior high school, his parents found jobs in the wealthy New York City suburb of Scarsdale. The experience of living and attending school there permanently shaped Scott’s personality. “I wasn’t just the only black kid in my class, I was the only black kid in the city of Scarsdale,” Scott told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Scott attributed his tendency to take lone-wolf political stands to his youthful experiences, and perhaps they impelled him as well to become the first member of his family to attend college. After graduating from high school in Daytona Beach, Florida, Scott enrolled at Rorida A&M University, earning a degree with honors in 1967. While at Rorida A&M, Scott met Alfredia Aaron, sister of baseball great Hank Aaron. The two were married in 1969 and raised two daughters, Dayna and Marcye. Scott’s college experiences also included an internship at the U.S. Labor Department in Washington, D.C.; while there, he met a professor at Philadelphia’s high-powered Wharton School of Business. Scott went on to earn an M.B.A. degree at Wharton, once again with honors, in 1969.
Moving with his growing family to the Atlanta area, Scott established an advertising agency, Dayn-Mark,
At a Glance…
Born on June 27, 1946, in Aynor, SC; married Alfredia Aaron, 1969; children: Dayna, Marcye. Education: Florida A&M University, BA, 1967; Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania, MBA, 1969. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Baptist.
Career: Georgia state government, representative, 1974–82, senator, 1982–2002; Dayn-Mark Advertising, founder and CEO, 1979–2002; U.S. House of Representatives, representative from Georgia’s 13th District, 2002-.
Addresses: Office —417 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515. District Office— 173 N. Main St., Jonesboro, GA 30236.
named after his two daughters. He served as the company’s CEO through much of his tenure in Georgia’s state legislature, which began with his election to the Georgia House in 1974. Both daughters eventually become involved with the agency, taking it over after Scott’s election to Congress. With his grand speech-making powers honed by the cadences of the Baptist church of his childhood (both his grandfathers were church deacons), Scott was a natural for politics. He moved on to the Georgia Senate in 1982, and seniority rules eventually brought him to the chairmanship of its powerful rules committee.
Some of the positions Scott staked out in the state senate held to traditional Democratic themes as he worked to support the interests of his primarily working-class constituents. He pushed through a bill mandating early intervention designed to prevent Georgia schoolchildren from having to repeat a grade, and he took an interest in bread-and-butter environmental issues, sponsoring a bill to restrict concentrations of landfills in order to curb their proliferation in poorer neighborhoods. While working toward passage of the latter bill, Scott personally buttonholed wavering legislators and took them in his car on tours of local landfills. Scott authored legislation requiring background checks of gun buyers in Georgia—one of the first gun-control measures ever enacted in that predominantly conservative state.”
Other Scott measures found support among more conservative voters, who would later become instrumental in propelling Scott to Congress. In 1993 he sponsored and won enactment of a bill requiring a moment of silence prior to the beginning of the school day in Georgia schools. He introduced a similar bill in the U.S. House in 2003. Scott denied that he was seeking a backdoor route for Christian prayer into the public schools, pointing out that his bill specifically prohibited turning the moment of silence into a religious exercise. “It is not a function of this bill to make anybody pray,” Scott was quoted as saying in the Chattanooga Times Free Press after his national bill was introduced. “You can’t do that. Prayer is a personal thing. It can only be meaningful if it is a self-invocation.” Nevertheless, Scott took criticism from both civil libertarians opposed to prayer in the schools and Christian conservatives who favored spoken prayers.
By the late 1990s, Scott had become known to Georgians as a legislator who would defend, passionately if necessary, positions that he was convinced were valid. On several occasions speeches Scott made on the senate floor attracted widespread notice. In the year 2000, Scott irked legislators but won praise from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution when he attacked two fellow Democrats for blocking a bill he had proposed to create an oversight board to manage the affairs of a troubled Atlanta hospital; the two legislators, Scott argued, had significant (though not illegal) financial interests in blocking change in the way the hospital was run. Then, on September 11, 2001, Scott spoke out against a redistricting plan that would have split the heart of his district.
Even amidst news coverage of an unprecedented terrorist attack, Scott’s speech made the papers the next morning. The following Sunday, Scott felt a calling in church to run for the open U.S. House seat in Georgia’s new 13th District. Former Atlanta mayor Andrew Young and brother-in-law Hank Aaron encouraged him to make the race, and Scott benefited in a crowded field from a campaign fundraiser attended by Aaron and held at the luxurious home of heavyweight boxer Evander Holyfield.
The 13th District was not one of those drawn to guarantee the election of a minority lawmaker; African Americans made up only 38 percent of the district’s voting-age population, and Scott faced competition from several powerful white state lawmakers. But Scott stunned political pundits, who had expected a close race culminating in a runoff, by winning the August 2002 Democratic primary outright with 55 percent of the vote. “People want their values strengthened,” Scott told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in explaining his success. “They want to feel safe. They want leaders with good common sense, not ranting and raving, not pitting one group against the other.” Scott’s candidacy appealed not only to blacks but also to conservative white Democrats, with whom Scott had built bridges during his moment-of-silence drive and during earlier controversies over school curriculum reform. Scott ran television advertisements claiming that his moment-of-silence measure had returned prayer to public schools.
Scott went on to win the November election against a white Republican opponent with 59 percent of the vote. “I feel humbled knowing how far I’ve come, he said (as quoted by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution) as he was sworn into office. Scott was named to the Agriculture and Financial Services committees, working in the latter capacity to serve the needs of small businesses; he often noted that as a small business owner, he had had ample experience with the day-to-day challenges of making a payroll. Scott kept a low profile as he became one of only seven Democrats to vote in favor of President Bush’s tax cuts in 2003, but he pointed out that his constituent mail was running heavily in favor of the tax-cut measure. An effective legislator, David Scott was still an up-and-comer after 30 years in the business of politics.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, February 13, 1991, p. C3; March 6, 1994, p. El; February 22, 1996, p. D2; March 1, 1998, p. G4; March 22, 2000, p. A14; April 2, 2000, p. CI; February 24, 2002, p. C6; August 22, 2002, p. B3; November 14, 2002, p. JN16; January 8, 2003, p. A6; February 25, 2003, p. B1; May 30, 2003, p. A7.
Chattanooga Times Free Press, March 12, 2003, p. A8.
Washington Post, August 27, 2002, p. A15.
“About David Scott,” Representative David Scott’s Official Website, http://davidscott.house.gov (July 15, 2003).
—James M. Manheim
Scott, David (1806-1849) and William Bell(1811-1890)
Scott, David (1806-1849) and William Bell(1811-1890)
These two brothers displayed unusual talent in the treatment of supernatural themes in art. David Scott was born October 10 (or 12), 1806, in Edinburgh, Scotland, and lived a comparatively uneventful life, his remarkable gifts being largely unrecognized by his contemporaries. He died on March 5, 1849.
In modern times, however, connoisseurs have appreciated his paintings, perceiving in his work great technical merits. In addition, people who care for art dealing with the supernatural have noted that Scott's Paracelsus and Vasco de Gama are in the forefront of work of this kind. His beautiful drawings for The Ancient Mariner express the very spirit of Coleridge, the archmystic, rendering it with a skill unsurpassed in any previous or subsequent illustrations to this poem.
David's brother, William Bell Scott, was also born in Edinburgh, his birth date being September 12, 1811. His career was very different from David's, for he won worldly success from the outset, and before his death on November 22, 1890, he had received much acclaim.
Etching some of his brother's works, and painting a host of pictures, he was also a voluminous writer, and his Autobiographical Notes of the Life of William Bell Scott (2 vols., published posthumously, 1892) contains insights concerning the mystic symbolism permeating the painting of the Middle Ages. It also contains a shrewd and interesting account of D. G. Rossetti's essays on table-turning and other Spiritualist practices.
William Bell's poems are almost all of a metaphysical order, and although it is extravagant to call him "the Scottish Blake," as many people have done, his mystical verse undoubtedly reflects a certain "meditative beauty," as "Fiona Macleod" (William Sharp ) once wrote on the subject.