Newly appointed U.S. Sen. Tim Scott concluded a two-day swing through the Greenville-Spartanburg area on Friday, saying the trip was an opportunity "to meet my new bosses here in the Upstate."
Scott made three public appearances in Spartanburg on Thursday, and concluded his trip in Greenville on Friday, speaking to nearly 300 people at a Greenville Chamber of Commerce breakfast at the Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center.
The Charleston Republican, who served as District 1's Congressman in the House until he was tapped recently by Gov. Nikki Haley to replace Jim DeMint, said he also planned to return to the Upstate next week as well.
Scott said he has been coming to the Upstate for 35 years, but noted the importance this time to acquaint himself with a new constituency, listen to their concerns, and gain feedback.
"It's not exactly new soil here for me, but it is a new role," he said, referring to his new statewide constituency. "It's a new experience that makes it important to come back as a Senator, to get to know the issues and the folks here and to pay attention to what folks have to say."
A natural speaker and politician, Scott captivated the capacity crowd with the now well-known personal story of his hardscrabble upbringing in North Charleston as the son of a poor but hardworking and tough-minded single mother.
Scott also told the crowd that while he's a different man from DeMint, his bedrock conservative values would remain intact in his new position. That includes, he said, continuing to work closely with his fellow S.C. Republicans that remain in the House, including Upstate Congressmen Mick Mulvaney, his Washington roommate, and Rep. Trey Gowdy, his closest colleague in Washington "and the smartest man I know."
"That relationship that we started when we were elected together will be important going forward, because I think it serves our state well when we are working together as a team," Scott said.
Scott, along with Mulvaney, Gowdy, and fellow Rep. Jeff Duncan, made a national name for themselves as a united group and as ideological purists in the last Congress, most notably with their 'no' votes on the compromise debt ceiling bill eventually endorsed and passed by the House Republican leadership.
Scott hinted the same scenario could play itself out again when the next debt ceiling debate commences soon, unless both parties make a serious and concerted effort to reduce spending and cut the deficit.
While that debate and other issues facing the economy will take central stage, the senator indicated that resisting the implementation of Obamacare will be key during his time in the Senate. Scott added that the nation must also do more to promote preventive care.
“We are headed towards a single-payer option,” he said. As Obamacare is phased in, the cost of health care, he warned, "is getting ready to explode."