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James Austin Scott
Birthdate: Dec. 10, 1969
Birth Place: Augusta, GA, United States
Residence: Ashburn, GA
First Elected: 2010
District: District 8
Undergraduate: University of Georgia
Austin Scott was born in Augusta, Ga., and now lives in Ashburn. He earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Georgia's Terry College of Business in 1993.
Scott worked as an insurance agent after college before opening his own insurance brokerage, The Southern Group LLC, where he serves as the company's president.
Scott was elected in 1996 to the Georgia House of Representatives.
He entered in 2009 the race to succeed term-limited Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue. He campaigned for nearly a year before opting in April 2010 to pull out of the gubernatorial field and run for Congress instead. He won the 8th District seat held by Democratic Rep. Jim Marshall.
Scott and his wife, Vivien, have a son.
Austin Scott's legislative experience, coupled with a political organization that had already spent a year campaigning and fundraising, made him a viable challenger in 2010 to then-incumbent Rep. Jim Marshall in middle Georgia's 8th Congressional District. Scott won that year's July primary with nearly 53 percent of the vote, besting two fellow Republican contenders outright.
He then beat Marshall in the general election, defeating one of the dwindling number of so-called Blue Dog Democrats in Congress.
In keeping with a campaign promise, House Speaker John Boehner assigned Scott to the Armed Services Committee because his district includes a U.S. Air Force Base. Scott also serves on the Agriculture Committee.
During the 2012 presidential campaign, Scott was an early supporter of Republican Newt Gingrich, previously a Georgia congressman.
Scott's district became easier for an incumbent Republican to defend after the redistricting that followed the 2010 census. GOP lawmakers in the Statehouse opted to shift Republican-leaning areas in Democratic Rep. Sanford Bishop's district into Scott's district. While the move will likely make re-election easier for Bishop, it also improves the Republican voting base in Scott's district.
Scott has been one of the Georgia GOP's youngest rising stars since 1996, when the Republican insurance broker was elected to the state Legislature at age 26.
His loyalty to the GOP leadership in the Statehouse earned him slots on the powerful Appropriations and Rules committees. He also served as chairman of the House Governmental Affairs Committee.
During the 2010 legislative session, Scott was already turning his focus to affairs in Washington. He sponsored a House resolution directing Georgia's Democratic attorney general to sue the federal government over the health care reform bill passed that year by Congress _ a move the state's top lawyer refused to make.
Scott also led Republican state lawmakers in blocking Georgia's black lawmakers from passing a resolution to make President Barack Obama an honorary member of their caucus. Scott said he opposed the measure because its wording made it sound like the entire House was heaping praise on the Democratic president.
Still, Scott has been known to take stands unpopular with fellow Republicans. He was the lone Republican in 2001 to co-sponsor Democratic Gov. Roy Barnes' effort to remove the Confederate battle emblem from Georgia's state flag. The change passed and Confederate heritage groups vowed, but ultimately failed, to see Scott ousted from office. Scott called changing the flag "the right thing to do morally."
"This puts us on the right side of history," he said. "If the vote gets you kicked out of office, so what?"
In his political career, Scott has proved himself ambitious but not foolhardy. He was several months shy of his 40th birthday in 2009 when he announced he'd run for governor in hopes of succeeding term-limited GOP Gov. Sonny Perdue. A year later, facing a crowded 2010 Republican primary field of contenders with more experience and more money, Scott pulled out of the gubernatorial race and immediately switched to a campaign for Congress.
Source: Associated Press
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