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|Publisher:||Tyndale House Publishers|
|Product dimensions:||5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Senator Tim Scott has made it his mission to positively affect the lives of a billion people through a message of hope and opportunity. He is the first African American elected to both the US House and US Senate since Reconstruction, and he has given a series of powerful speeches on racial reconciliation throughout the United States.
Trey Gowdy was a state and federal prosecutor in South Carolina before his election as 7th Circuit solicitor (district attorney) in 2000. In 2010, Trey was elected to Congress, where he served until 2018.
Read an Excerpt
"Welcome to Congress"
Friendship Begins with Trust
The early days of the 112th Congress felt exciting and occasionally chaotic. Our "freshman orientation" began in late November 2010, after the new members of Congress were elected but before our swearing-in in January. We stayed in a hotel in Washington, DC, and attended meetings, seminars, and panels to learn about the inner workings of government in general and Congress in particular. Current members of Congress taught or facilitated many of the classes, and they offered guidance on everything — including how to structure your office, how to handle travel to and from your district, and how to stay within your office budget.
There were lots of instructions about the procedures governing the floor of the House and all committee work, including strict floor-of-the-House rules about when we could discuss legislative matters, how long we could talk, and even what we could talk about. We had to select an office within one of the three House office buildings and hire the women and men who would work with us in our offices. For those of us who had never served in any legislative body, the learning curve was steep and sometimes confusing.
Congress has its routines, which we would come to know with time and practice, but in those early days, it was all so new. Like walking onto the floor of the House for the first time. Voting for the first time. Getting your member pin and voting card. Seeing your name for the first time on a plaque outside your office.
I will always remember the night our freshman class had dinner in Statuary Hall. I could feel the history. The statues and portraits of yesteryear were all around us. It felt almost as if America's founders were watching and listening. We were walking in the same hallways and meeting in the same rooms where history had been made — and where it would likely be made again.
At the same time, an undercurrent of chaos raced beneath the excitement. Nobody grades on the curve in Congress, and there's not a great deal of margin for those who don't know the ropes, rules, and protocols. Your constituents deserve the same level of representation as those who live in the most senior members' districts, so you must absolutely hit the ground running. You have to assemble staff both in your home district and in Washington. You have to create a plan and a process and a protocol for every conceivable scenario, including how to handle calls for assistance from veterans, seniors, and people seeking passports, as well as calls from those who have insight into particular pieces of legislation. There's a lot to learn, a lot to manage, and a lot to take in.
Orientation is also a time to become acquainted with new colleagues. I needed to get to know the chairs of the committees and subcommittees I was assigned to, as well as their staff members. Women and men whom I had known only from television were now seated a row behind me in a Capitol Hill committee room.
One of my more vivid early memories was stopping by Paul Ryan's office to get his autograph. I'm sure the person who sits out front in his office thought I was crazy. What member of Congress stops by another member's office and asks for an autograph? One that doesn't know any better, that's who!
It seems funny now (and a little ridiculous in hindsight), but Paul had established himself as an ideological leader within our conference, and I wanted him to sign a book for me. He had road maps for tax reform and economic growth, and he was someone many of the freshmen admired and respected. He was, I suppose, famous to me.
Most members of Congress are uncomfortable signing autographs for people, but especially for someone they view as a peer and a colleague. Paul, though, was incredibly gracious and modest about it — as he is about everything. That seems so long ago, and I can't help but smile at the memory — especially since I would later sit next to him on the floor of the House and stop by his office (often bypassing the gatekeeper out front) to try to persuade him to be our Speaker of the House when John Boehner left. And Paul would later ask me to give the nominating speech in front of the Republican Conference when he ultimately ran for Speaker. To go from seeking an autograph to giving a nominating speech is a long, circuitous trip. But in late 2010 and early 2011, everything was new and exciting and unknown — including our famous colleagues.
I also remember meeting fellow freshman congressman Sean Duffy, who is from Wisconsin. In addition to being a reality TV star, a world-class lumberjack, and father to (then) a half-dozen children, Sean was a former prosecutor. At least we had that in common. I met Sean during lunch at one of our first orientation sessions. He was navigating the buffet line with his wife, Rachel, and all six of their children. Sean was struggling to hold his infant daughter while making plates for the other kids, so I offered to take the little girl for him.
"Thank you," he said. "That would be so nice."
"What's her name?" I asked.
He paused, and then said, "I honestly don't remember right now. We have so many."
We both laughed as he handed his daughter over to me and I carried little Maria Victoria through the buffet line. Thus began my friendship with Sean and Rachel Duffy. As it happened, Sean and I chose our first offices on the same floor of the same building, so we were able to work closely together during our freshman year. Years later, his eldest daughter, Evita, volunteered in my office and did a fantastic job. The friendship that began in that buffet line, with both Sean and Rachel Duffy, has continued to this day.
In the midterm elections of 2010, the Republican Party had captured a majority in the House of Representatives and now had the largest number of Republican members since the late 1940s. Coming just two years into President Obama's first term in office, the arrival of this historically large class of Republicans signaled more than simply a change in control of the House; it felt like the beginning of a significant shift in the balance of power, along with all the attendant responsibilities.
Taking control of the House meant not only a bunch of new members, but also new House leadership and a new legislative agenda. These changes added to the virtual chaos. As the eighty-five freshman Republicans were scrambling to learn the congressional ropes, the newly elevated Republican leadership was scrambling to reassign committee chairmanships, integrate new members into the ongoing work of the House, and install their own priorities and agenda. The leaders within the Republican Conference in the House had been anticipating and preparing for the potential chance to govern, and now the moment had arrived. It was time to actually start. The political calculus in the Capitol had been altered, and the town was buzzing with curiosity.
The new roster for the 112th Congress involved an interesting cast of characters, including veterans of the Iraq War, a former NFL player, Ivy League graduates, police officers, farmers, a representative who would later become director of the CIA, and several others who would quickly move up to the US Senate. In the middle of all that were four new Republicans from South Carolina — Jeff Duncan, Mick Mulvaney, me, and Tim Scott, the first African American Republican congressman elected from our state since George W. Murray in 1896. We captured some attention, in large part because there were four of us, and some in the media dubbed us "the Four Horsemen." Tim and fellow freshman Allen West of Florida were the first black Republicans elected to the US House since J. C. Watts of Oklahoma retired in 2003 — making them veritable unicorns on the political scene.
Though the 2010 freshman class certainly made news as a whole, having a black Republican from South Carolina representing the very district where the Civil War began was especially noteworthy. Tim had already become a historically significant figure in South Carolina, as he continues to be. He was a man of color elected over a host of alternatives, including two sons of beloved political figures in our state. To get to Washington, Tim had emerged from a crowded primary field that included Paul Thurmond, the son of legendary senator Strom Thurmond, and Carroll Campbell III, the son of an immensely popular former congressman and governor. He then handily defeated his Democratic opponent in the general election.
Tim also made everything look very, very easy. Meeting new people seemed easy for him. Understanding the legislative process seemed easy for him. Building his office staff seemed easy for him. Even appearing on television seemed easy for him. He never seemed like a "true freshman" as the rest of us did. It appeared as if he had been serving in Congress for decades. I hadn't met him before we started orientation together, but he seemed warm and approachable, though perhaps ever-so-slightly guarded. I would soon learn that his guardedness was a carefully honed defense mechanism, developed through many years of experience. Tim's skill set, coupled with his infectious personality, brought instant notoriety and a steady stream of requests for his time and attention. House Republican leaders not only knew about Tim Scott, they wanted to make him the face of the "new Republican Party."
With eighty-five new Republican representatives in town, which included a gain of sixty-five seats in the House, the competition for committee assignments and media attention was fierce, as you can imagine. The freshmen were jockeying for position, looking for places to shine, and hoping for media appearances. Television is such a powerful force, and media interviews were highly coveted for most freshman members. Many people, both in Washington and back home in our districts, equated being seen with being relevant. In our line of work, when the world sees you on television, you have some stature. Whether that is fair, or as it should be, is certainly open to debate. But the power of the screen is not. As I am fond of saying (only a little bit facetiously), "With the possible exception of love, TV is the most powerful force on the planet."
Committees are a big deal in Congress, and new members are integrated into the work of the House through their committee assignments. Getting on the right committee is almost essential to your ability to effectively legislate in your area of expertise or interest. The challenge is this: The newest members have the least seniority, they don't always get their preferred committee or subcommittee requests, and they are the last to speak in committee hearings. By the time your turn comes, all the good questions have usually already been asked. You have to be very creative, and you only have five minutes to ask new questions or follow up on your colleagues' previous questions. How well can you distinguish yourself in five minutes, after all the good material has been taken and discussed? It isn't easy.
Early on, I learned how important it is to prepare for committee hearings: Read the materials, do your own independent research, and use your five minutes of questioning as well as you can. I looked for a line of questioning that was different or unique. I showed up on time, and I listened to my colleagues who had been doing this for a long time. Mike Pence, Jim Sensenbrenner, Dan Lungren, Randy Forbes, Bobby Scott, and several others were seasoned questioners. I watched them closely, and I tried to learn.
Your committee assignments control most of your time, allow you to pursue your policy objectives, and often dictate your sphere of influence. If you're an attorney who wants to reform the civil or criminal justice systems, for example, it is essential to be on the Judiciary Committee. Iftax reform is your calling, you need to be on the Ways and Means Committee.
These highly significant committee assignments are made by the House Steering Committee, which sometimes seems as if it is populated by Zeus, Poseidon, the Titans, and the Cardinals. The Steering Committee sits behind closed doors and not only picks committee chairpersons, but also fills all the other committee slots. The most highly coveted committees in the House — Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, Appropriations, and Rules — get people like Tim Scott. Then the committee gods look at who's left — someone like me, for example — and they think, Well, we have to put him somewhere, don't we?
Because I was a former prosecutor, the Judiciary Committee seemed like a natural fit for me. Former Majority Leader Eric Cantor and then-Judiciary Committee chairman Lamar Smith were very instrumental in making that happen. Had Eric and Lamar not taken a chance on me, I would never have been on the Judiciary Committee. I also was placed on the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, thanks to Darrell Issa, and the Committee on Education and the Workforce, which was a committee near and dear to the heart of former House Speaker John Boehner.
Tim was initially placed on the Small Business Committee and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, but he later relinquished those appointments when he was selected by Speaker Boehner for the powerful House Rules Committee. The House Rules Committee determines the order of business in the House, which amendments are made and in what order, and how bills will be brought to the floor. Tim's appointment to the Rules Committee was a testimony to his obvious talents as a legislator, as well as an indication of his rapid rise to significance in the House. It was just one more example of the superstar status Tim achieved right from the start.
Though Trey and I are both from South Carolina, a relatively small state, we had never met before our election to Congress. I remember the first time I met Trey at freshman orientation. From the beginning, he struck me as someone who is sharp, clear, and articulate. To win a congressional seat, Trey had to defeat an incumbent Republican congressman, which is no small feat. You have to be tenacious, and you have to be disciplined. Trey Gowdy is both of those things.
One of Trey's signatures is his wardrobe. His suits are not flashy, but they're ... well, unusual. His appearance is always interesting, from his hair to his shoes, including his socks. (He has been known to wear a dark suit with white socks.) When you first meet him, he seems fairly understated; but if you engage him in conversation, you very quickly realize that first impressions can be misleading.
Though Mick Mulvaney, Jeff Duncan, and I had previously served in the South Carolina legislature, Trey's background was as a prosecutor with several appearances on Court TV and Forensic Files. It had to have been difficult to come into Congress without any prior legislative experience, but Trey is a quick study and a disciplined student. His acumen as a prosecutor was well known in South Carolina, and it wouldn't be long before the nation would discover that Trey has a very special gift for cross-examination.
As we acclimated to Congress, the four of us started meeting to confer on the issues and discuss how we were leaning on upcoming votes. We were motivated by the need to get up to speed quickly, and we were all looking for ways to be as prepared as possible for the task at hand. We ate dinner together as often as we could, and we would bounce ideas off each other and take advantage of our different perspectives, passions, experience, and expertise.
A lot of folks in our incoming class were in a similar age range, significantly younger than the average member of Congress. With all that youth came inexperience, but also optimism. We were motivated by the challenge of serving the nation.
We had some great mentors in the other two members of our state delegation, Joe Wilson and Jim Clyburn. We called Joe Wilson our scoutmaster. He's about fifteen years older than we are, and he was our senior member of Congress on the Republican side. He did everything he could to help us get into the rhythm of our committee assignments. Joe is full of optimism and always has a word of encouragement for us. He is among the most thoughtful and considerate people in the House.
Excerpted from "Unified"
Copyright © 2018 Timothy Scott and Harold Watson Gowdy III.
Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
1. "Welcome to Congress" FRIENDSHIP BEGINS WITH TRUST, 1,
2. Tested by Success THE CALL TO THE SENATE, 29,
3. "There's Been a Shooting in Chatrolens" A KILLER, A RACE WAR, AND A SENATOR'S BEST FRIEND, 47,
4. Like the Friends of Job A TOUGH ASSIGNMENT AND A CONGRESSMAN'S BEST FRIEND, 67,
5. What We Have in Common BUILDING A FRIENDSHIP TO LAST, 81,
6. Establish Credibility CREATING AN ENVIRONMENT WHERE TRUST CAN GROW, 103,
7. A Black Senator's Perspective on Law Enforcement A BALANCED VIEW, 113,
8. A White Former Prosecutor's Perspective on Law Enforcement TO PURSUE THE TRUTH, 127,
9. The Power of a Positive Influence THE IMPACT OF A SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHER AND A BUSINESSMAN, 143,
10. Let's Talk about Solutions WHERE WE GO FROM HERE, 165,
Epilogue HOPE IS THE AGENT OF CHANGE, 191,
About the Authors, 201,
Preview of The Friendship Challenge, 205,