Birthdate: April 30, 1947
Birth Place: Washington, DC, United States
Residence: Newport News, VA
First Elected: 1992
District: District 3
Bobby Scott was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Newport News, Va., where he now resides. He earned a bachelor's from Harvard University in 1969 and a law degree from Boston College in 1973.
He returned to Newport News to practice law and was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 1977.
He was elected to the Virginia Senate in 1982 and was re-elected three times. He was elected to the U.S. House in 1992, and is the first black member of Congress from Virginia since Reconstruction.
Scott is divorced and has no children.
Bobby Scott, Virginia's first black congressman since Reconstruction, has said his goal is to preserve jobs in the state's 3rd Congressional District, where the economy is heavily dependent on military interests.
Scott has criticized federal deficits and was the only Democratic congressman from Virginia voting against the 2008 bailout of the financial services industry. He voted in favor of the 2009 economic stimulus package.
He co-sponsored legislation in early 2009 meant to improve high school graduation rates and campus safety. He also joined Rep. Eric Cantor, the second-ranking Republican in the House, in urging approval of high-speed rail between Richmond and Washington, D.C.
Scott has been a critic of crime legislation that he says has been loosely tailored and permits punishments too severe for the offenses committed.
He chairs a subcommittee on crime, terrorism and homeland security, and has said too many crime and punishment bills emerge from Congress and become law without sufficient study or refinement.
"You can't prosecute somebody for something they didn't know was a crime," Scott said.
Scott was one of three Virginia Democratic congressmen in April 2010 who wrote a letter to House colleagues urging the adoption of a law that closed the so-called gun show loophole. The letter, sent on the third anniversary of the 2007 killing of 32 people at Virginia Tech by a student gunman, asked that private dealers at gun shows be required _ the same as licensed dealers _ to perform instant background checks on purchasers.
Scott's district encompasses Richmond, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Newport News. It was redrawn in 1991, creating a population that was 64 percent black and heavily Democratic.
It remained majority black after being redrawn again in 2001, and the concentration of the African-American voting-age population increased even more during the Republican-ruled General Assembly redistricting completed in January 2012. That brought protests from Democrats that the legislature had resorted to racial packing, concentrating largely black and Democratic-voting precincts into Scott's district to maximize the Republican vote in adjoining and largely white districts.
Scott backed legislation to combat sexual assault in prisons and he supported a ban on the production and sale of 19 different assault-style weapons.
He was among three House members who voted against a June 2002 resolution condemning an appeals court ruling that said mentioning God in the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional. Scott said after the vote that he believes the pledge in schools should be found constitutional, but that the issue is best left to the courts.
Scott co-sponsored legislation in 2008 to give transportation security officers the same collective bargaining rights and protections that other federal workers have. He also convened a panel discussion in Norfolk on the environmental and economic implications of exploratory offshore drilling for oil and natural gas.
Scott supports abortion rights and voted against a measure to require parental notification for minors' abortions. He opposes the death penalty.
In 2010, Republicans believed they had found the magic bullet against Scott. Chuck Smith, a conservative black candidate, challenged Scott, but was obliterated in the November election. The same was true in 2004, when Winsome Earle Sears, the first black Republican female ever elected to the Virginia House of Delegates, unsuccessfully challenged Scott.
Scott faces Republican Dean Longo, a retired Air Force officer with no political portfolio, in the November 2012 general election.
Source: Associated Press