Georgetown University graduate and U.S. Army veteran George Scott (SFS ’84) is running for Congress in Pennsylvania’s 4th district, where he faces fellow alumna Shavonnia Corbin-Johnson (SFS ’14) in the Democratic primary.
The winner of the Democratic primary will challenge the district’s Republican incumbent, Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.). Perry was re-elected in 2016 with two-thirds of the vote.
Scott spent much of his life serving in the armed forces. After completing one year at the U.S. Air Force Academy, he transferred to Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service, where he continued his military involvement through the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program. Scott served in the U.S. Army until his retirement in 2004 and continued to work in national security with the CIA until 2009, when he became a Lutheran pastor.
In an interview with The Hoya, Scott said that he was inspired to run for Congress this year out of disappointment with a dysfunctional federal government and a frustrating political climate.
“I have been dismayed, to put it mildly, by the direction that our political process has been going for the past couple of years, and that was in particular, the 2016 election campaign,” Scott said. “The politics that have emerged since then have really left me — and I think most people, the overwhelming majority of people — frustrated and disappointed, especially with the feeling that our federal government is increasingly dysfunctional.”
Scott said his experience in the military has given him a better appreciation for the serious impact that federal policies can have on the people of the United States, an appreciation he feels that many people in the federal government lack.
“I would like to think that my experience in the military and in the private sector and in the federal government makes me understand that policies have consequences and that decisions need to be taken seriously and not simply be done for political advantage in the short term,” Scott said.
Scott’s campaign will emphasize three primary policy issues: health care, jobs and education, all of which he says are central to Americans’ quality of life. Scott sees the inaccessibility of health care, a wide wage gap and the prevalence of student debt as some of the most urgent problems facing Pennsylvanians.
“When I talk to people, those are the issues that they are wrestling with day to day in their lives, and if those three issues are settled and taken care of, then usually they can devote time to other things that are important,” Scott said. “But if they can’t get health care, if they don’t have a decent job, if their children or grandchildren can’t get a quality education, then everything else tends to fall by the wayside or fall apart.”
Scott also said he would like to see more bipartisanship in Congress. He called for increased civility and cooperation between the two sides of the political aisle, despite vastly differing ideologies.
“Having divided opinions and disagreement — that’s a normal part of the government process. We can disagree without being disagreeable. We can pursue opposing positions without being treasonous,” Scott said. “That’s not treason to have opposing opinions or to not support the positions of a certain party or a certain president.”
Scott referred to the Republican tax reform bill, passed Dec. 20 on a party-line vote, as an example of failed bipartisanship and a departure from normal legislative process.
“When we depart from that regular order, into — like take the tax bill, no committee hearings, no real inclusion of the Democratic Party; it was strictly the Republican Party that formulated that legislation,” Scott said. “Those are not regular order, and when you don’t follow the process, you end up with policy that is fundamentally flawed.”
Regarding Corbin-Johnson, his Democratic primary opponent, Scott said the fact that two Georgetown alumni are willing to run in this election and fight for Democratic policies demonstrates the Georgetown community’s commitment to the common good.
“It shows that people that come out of Georgetown University are committed to public service, whether that’s in the federal government, whether that’s in local government, whether that’s in the private sector,” Scott said.
Read The Hoya’s interview with Scott’s Democratic opponent, former White House adviser Shavonnia Corbin-Johnson.