The problems facing our nation require strong, principled leadership. Incumbent Rep. Tim Scott offers the 1st District that leadership.
Scott recognizes the seriousness of the country's financial straits. He rightly points to both Republican and Democratic administrations that have used revenue growth to increase spending rather than pay down our debt.
"Do you think giving us more money will reduce spending," he asks.
History, he says, tells us no.
"Whether Republicans or Democrats, we find ourselves in trouble when we don't control spending."
To dig ourselves out of this hole will take discipline. In his first term in Congress, Scott has demonstrated that kind of discipline. He bucked his party's leadership to vote against compromise legislation to raise the debt ceiling that included sequestration, but did not include a balanced-budget amendment.
"We have to come to a fundamental position on whether we have a spending problem or a revenue problem," Scott said. "If we have a revenue problem, you first must address spending."
His approach to balancing the budget includes growing our economy by reducing regulatory burdens on business and simplifying our tax code.
Scott is purposefully vague on what tax loopholes he thinks should be closed, saying only there are "logical" ones. The loopholes to eliminate, he said, depend on the target for tax rates. In the end, they are part of negotiations still to come.
"All the specificity we need to know is that what has happened over the last four years and in the last year of the Bush administration hasn't worked," he said.
He also says we must reduce the size and scope of our government. That can be done with a systematic look at eliminating duplicative services and reducing administrative overhead.
"A smarter, smaller and more efficient government will better serve us all," Scott says.
Scott says he's willing to reach across the aisle to come up with solutions and cites his work on reducing regulatory burdens and literacy issues.
He must come through with that bipartisan approach on budget and taxing issues, too.
With sequestration that includes major cuts in defense spending and the looming end of tax cuts, he acknowledges "we should be in a panic."
He points to the recent two years of Democratic control of Congress and the White House as a source of our deficit problems.
"One party in control didn't work well for the American people," Scott said.
The same can be said of Republican control. Ideologues are not limited to the Democratic Party. We must see a willingness to work together from both sides of the aisle, and the people of his district must hold Scott to his promise to do that.
Closer to home, Scott knows Beaufort County well and the issues affecting us. He is committed to supporting the military, in particular the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, a key to maintaining the county's critical military presence.
Scott is in the best position to do the most for those of us who live and work in his district.