Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC) recently spoke at the National Young Republican Federation’s (YRNF) biannual Leadership conference about the power of the youth movement in Republican politics.
Scott, still one of the younger members of congress, encouraged YRNF’s leadership to take action.
“YOU are in charge of this country, you are the ‘we the people’… we need to take that responsibility seriously,” said Scott.
While many young conservatives in the Republican Party have become disheartened after run-ins with the “establishment”, Scott discounted older Republicans who did not take them seriously. He spoke about an upcoming Revolution.
“The revolution must happen this year. And it will only happen when you go home and make it happen,” he said, encouraging his audience.
He said our country needed to get back on track, but it was the youth and their leadership that would truly make a difference.
Scott was raised by his single mother and grew up in poverty. He went on to spend his entire life breaking through stereotypes and misconceptions. He was the first black Republican elected to any office in South Carolina since Reconstruction. He was the first African-American representative in the South Carolina House of Representatives from his district in over 100 years. He and Allen West were the first two African-Americans from confederacy states elected to Congress since 1903. Scott even went on to serve in the Leadership of the House, even becoming Chairman of the Freshman Caucus.
As a man who understands both oppression and leadership through adversity, no one better could have given a message of empowerment to the Young Republicans.
Scott approached the youth leadership with a hip and personable nature. He made the audience laugh with references to internet memes and Chick-Fil-A, but his overall message was a serious one. He told the audience that they have to change the direction of our country, and that responsibility has fallen into the hands of Generation Y. He praised the power of our position as conservatives, as being on the right side both of both fiscal and conservative issues. Scott stressed that all we need to get out there and elect the right person (meaning our soon-to-be decided nominee).
It would be easy for Scott to have given up early-on in his career. He could have decided not to finish college or start his own business, and certainly not to run for Congress. But the kind of determination and integrity that Scott brings to the table is something all young leaders can learn from.
One lesson in particular, Scott made clear to the leaders in the audience: owning your beliefs.
“When someone asks me why I’m a Republican, I tell them: ‘Because my momma raised me right,’” Said Scott.
Based on the applause that followed, the rest of the audience agreed.