Congressman Bobby Scott was re-elected in 2014 to a twelfth term serving the citizens of Virginia’s third congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives. Prior to serving in Congress, Bobby served 15 years in the Virginia General Assembly where he focused his legislative efforts on creating jobs, increasing access to affordable healthcare, improving education and economic opportunities, promoting evidence-based crime prevention strategies and enhancing consumer protections. Bobby’s legislative successes in the General Assembly include raising Virginia’s minimum wage, enhancing opportunities for Virginia’s families, and establishing the Governor’s Employment and Training Council.
In November 1992, Bobby was elected to represent Virginia’s third congressional district. With this election, Bobby made history by becoming the first African-American elected to Congress from Virginia since the Reconstruction-era. Because his maternal grandfather immigrated from the Philippines during the Spanish-American War, Bobby also has the distinction of being the first voting member of Congress with Filipino ancestry.
In Congress, Bobby currently serves as the top Democrat on the influential Education and the Workforce Committee. In his role as the Ranking Member of the Committee, Bobby is leading the charge to ensure access to a quality and affordable education for all of America’s children. In 2015, Bobby was one of the lead negotiators of the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act, which replaced the No Child Left Behind Act and reauthorized the landmark Elementary and Secondary Education Act. He is also working to make college more affordable, so that young people are not saddled with unmanageable levels of student debt. Bobby is also fighting to raise the minimum wage, to enact policies that uplift America’s working families, and to protect access to affordable healthcare for all.
Bobby has earned a reputation in Congress as an ardent defender of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. He voted against the USA PATRIOT Act and has tirelessly fought to strengthen protections for individual civil liberties and privacy.
Bobby is also a leading voice on smart and effective criminal justice reform. He has sponsored the Youth PROMISE Act, which would provide resources to state and local governments for evidenced-based juvenile crime prevention programs. Bobby has also partnered with conservative Republican Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner in authoring the Safe, Accountable, Fair and Effective (SAFE) Justice Act, which has been heralded as one of the most comprehensive reforms to our nation’s broken criminal justice system. The Sensenbrenner-Scott SAFE Justice Act has attracted the support of liberals and conservatives inside and outside of Congress. And in 2014, Bobby’s Death in Custody Reporting Act was signed into law by President Obama. The Act requires law enforcement agencies to report to the U.S. Department of Justice data on individuals who die in custody or in the course of arrest.
On protecting our region’s defense interests, Bobby is an active member of the Congressional Shipbuilding Caucus and is a leading advocate for shipbuilding, shipbuilders, and our men and women in uniform. He sponsored the House version of the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, which was signed into law by President Bush in 2008 and has been credited as the largest expansion of veteran educational benefits since World War II. The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America has regularly given Bobby an A rating for his work on behalf of our nation’s veterans.
Because of his penchant for working long hours in the Capitol and consistently barnstorming the third district to make himself available to everyone he represents, Bobby was recognized as one of the 25 hardest working Members of Congress by The Hill newspaper in 2010.
The son of a doctor and a public school teacher, Bobby grew up in the southeast community of Newport News and has devoted his life and career in service to his community. He attended Harvard College and received his law degree from Boston College. During and immediately after law school, he served in the National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserve. After passing the Virginia bar exam, Bobby returned home to Newport News to practice law. To ensure representation of those unable to afford an attorney, Bobby founded the Peninsula Legal Aid Center. He also served as one of the youngest branch presidents of the Newport News NAACP. Bobby is an active member of many community organizations and is a member of St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church in southeast Newport News.