George Scott Runs for PA-10th Congressional Seat

Ethan Sniderman, Reporter

One candidate has been a US Army soldier, CIA officer, and church pastor.  

George Scott, a candidate in the Pennsylvania 10th Congressional District, is one of four Democrats seeking a spot in the general election in November.

On May 15, 2018, Pennsylvania will have its mid-term primary to elect one of their senators and each districts’ congressman/woman. The primary election is used by Democrats and Republicans to narrow down their candidate field and present one candidate to represent them in the November election. Derry Township resides in Pennsylvania’s newly formed 10th Congressional District (formerly the PA-15th).

Scott served for over 20 years on active duty in the United States Army. Upon retirement, he worked for the Central Intelligence Agency as a staff operations officer in the Agency’s Middle East Division. Since then, he has spent the last nine years serving as a pastor at his church.

He said he feels he has always been drawn to serve the public saying, “[I] found a calling to serve in a different way last spring. In my mind, at least, this run is a continuation of this theme of service to community and country.”

Getting a campaign is no easy feat, to get on the congressional ballot a candidate needs at least 1,000 signatures to file with the Federal Elections Committee.

For a candidate, this can be the first hurdle that kills any hopes for campaign. Scott, however, had no problem getting on the ballot.

“I don’t want to take credit for that,” Scott said. He said that all of the signatures came from the countless hours of hard work from numerous volunteers.  

Perhaps it comes from the time serving in the military that Scott was able to find the benefits of building a strong team base. Currently, Scott said the campaign has a “core team that is probably about a dozen people […] and beyond that a pool of volunteers, a couple hundred, who help in a variety of ways on a regular basis.”

According to Scott, a couple of those members are paid for their time dedicated to the campaign. However, he said that there are many who do volunteer by demonstrating “the support they have in the community.”

When deciding on a candidate, many voters base their choice on whether or not they agree with a candidate on a multitude of issues. Some issues, like abortion and gun control, are often the root of heated political arguments.

Currently, Scott serves as a pastor at his local church, and undoubtedly, many democrats may wonder about his position on abortion. Unlike Senator Bob Casey, Scott is pro-choice; however, he feels that you can sum up his stance as “safe, legal, and rare.”

“I value human life highly, and I think anyone that serves in ministry feels that way,” and he hopes that the United States never goes back to a time when women were not getting the proper medical treatment for an abortion.

“We have gay clergy members, and we have had the ability to conduct same-sex marriages for a couple of years, and I do not have any problem with that. If two people are adults and are in  a loving relationship and they want to form that kind of bond, then we should support that,” said Scott.

Guns in the United States have been a major talking point across American media and politics due to recent school shootings. As a measure to potentially protect kids from active shooters, President Trump noted that a possible solution may be to arm school teachers.

When pressed on whether or not Scott would support this idea, Scott said, “No.” He went on, “I think we already ask our teachers to do so much, and to ask them to take that on as well is not fair to them, nor is it a wise thing to do[…] And above and beyond that, the question I have is: ‘Do we really want to bring more weapons into a place that should be safe?’”

Gun rights are very important to many voters of the PA-10th, and as such they may look at to which stance a candidate takes on gun control.

Scott stated, “I support the Second Amendment[…] but I think reasonable measures are long overdo to address gun violence. So what I always encourage folks to do is not talk about gun control, but talk about gun violence. Our nation has a major problem with gun violence and that manifests itself in a bunch of different ways, and it has become an issue that is now a public safety issue.”

Like many candidates from both sides of the aisle, Scott feels that a solution to gun violence needs to have a bipartisan solution.

Moving into May, if Scott were to win the primary, he would be facing incumbent Congressman Scott Perry. Both he and Perry have devoted a majority of their lives to the military. Under the Constitution, only Congress has the ability to set a budget for the military and declare war.

Scott discussed the notion of being better prepared than the other candidates on voting on military issues.  As a veteran of 20 years of Army service Scott said, “I think it certainly gives [me] proper insight on how to spend proper resources[…] It also provides me with an understanding of day-to-day reality of defense and foreign policy decisions.

Scott also lamented the lack of military experience and knowledge among politicians.

“What you see a lot of times in political circles are people who have never served in the military making decisions that will affect the lives of the men and women who serve in uniform,” Scott said, “and they don’t really understand the impact. And they are quick to propose the use of military force when it may not be appropriate.”

The possibility of continuing to serve his country was a strong motivator for Scott to run.   

“It is privilege for me to do this, and I don’t take this road that I’m going on lightly,” Scott said, “I think that the voters need to understand that once I’m elected I will work for them. I’m not gonna work for the leaders of the Democratic party to do what they want, nor am I going to work for special interest groups or lobbyist to do what they want[…]ultimately I am pursuing this to serve the people of this district.”

George Scott is pictured in an image from his campaign website. Scott running for PA-10th congressional seat, and the primary election will be held on May 15, 2018. (George Scott for Congress)