The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People isn’t too excited about the appointment of Rep. Tim Scott to South Carolina’s soon-to-be-vacated U.S. Senate seat.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley announced her appointment of the black Republican during a noon press conference in Columbia, South Carolina. Scott will replace Sen. Jim DeMint, who is leaving to take the top position at the conservative Heritage Foundation. (RELATED VIDEO: DeMint going from 4th-poorest senator to Heritage millionaire)
That appointment will make Scott the only black U.S. senator, at least until 2014, when he runs for re-election. The last black senator was Illinois Democrat Roland Burris, who left office in November of 2010.
Hilary Shelton, senior vice president for advocacy and policy at the NAACP, told The Daily Caller Monday afternoon that the group welcomed diversity in the Senate, but expects the new senator to work against the NAACP’s agenda.
“It is important that we have more integration in the U.S. Senate,” said Shelton in a phone interview. “It’s good to see that diversity.”
“Mr. Scott certainly comes from a modest background, experience, and so forth, and should be sensitive to those issues,” he said, referring to Scott’s impoverished single-parent upbringing in Charleston, SC.
“Unfortunately, his voting record in the U.S. House of Representatives raises major concerns,” Shelton said.
Shelton explained that the NAACP platform is crafted through an annual voting process which engages grassroots-level delegates who vote on the group’s national agenda. That agenda calls for an expansive role for federal government spending in black communities.
Scott, Shelton said, would likely work against that agenda, favoring instead the “small government” posture of Ronald Reagan and that president’s Secretary of Education, William Bennett.
“Small government usually means, as it’s being described these days, the elimination of the role of government and support for initiatives and programs that are crucial for the African-American community,” Shelton said.
“When the discussions about small government were utilized by Ronald Reagan, he appointed Bill Bennett as the Secretary of Education. Bill Bennett had actually voted during his time in the House of Representatives to eliminate the Department of Education,” he continued, though Bennett never held elective office. “That’s not within the African-American community’s best interest.”
Smaller government also means less federal assistance for housing and signals an abandoning of civil rights regulations as enforced by the Justice Department, Shelton said, highlighting the Department’s crackdown on what he called “anti-immigration” laws across the country.
Scott “has demonstrated a record of opposition to civil rights protection and advancing those real issues of concern of the NAACP’s noted African-American community,” Shelton added.