Meet the Ranking Member

Rep. Bobby Scott Official Portrait

Congressman Robert C. "Bobby" Scott has represented Virginia's third congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1993. Prior to his   service in Congress, he served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1978 to 1983 and in the Senate of Virginia from 1983 to 1993.

His 1992 election to Congress gave Congressman Scott the distinction of being the first African-American elected to Congress from Virginia since John Mercer Langston’s election more than 100 years earlier during the Reconstruction era. Having a maternal grandfather of Filipino ancestry also gives him the distinction of being the first American with Filipino ancestry to serve as a voting member of Congress.

In the 118th Congress, Congressman Scott serves as the Ranking Member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce—his fifth term as the Committee’s Democratic leader. Throughout his tenure, he has advanced legislation that improves equity in education, frees students from the burdens of debt, protects and expands access to affordable health care, ensures workers have a safe workplace where they can earn a living wage free from discrimination, and guarantees seniors have a secure and dignified retirement.

During the 116th and 117th Congresses (2019-2023), Congressman Scott served as Chairman of what was then called the Committee on Education and Labor. As Chairman, Congressman Scott spearheaded critical parts of Congress’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Through several COVID-19 packages—including the American Rescue Plan Act—Congressman Scott’s efforts saved the pensions of over one million workers and retirees; reduced the number of uninsured Americans to record lows; significantly reduced child hunger across the nation; and delivered the single largest investment to K-12 schools in U.S. history to help schools reopen safely and make up for lost learning time. Notably, Congressman Scott has championed several other landmark bills in the House of Representatives—including the Every Student Succeeds Act, the Raise the Wage Act, the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, the Equity Inclusion and Enforcement Act, and the Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2017, which included key components of Congressman Scott’s Youth PROMISE Act.

Congressman Scott has also served on the Committee on the Budget and the Committee on the Judiciary, and he remains a leading voice in Congress on fiscal policy, the Constitution and reforming our nation’s criminal justice system.

During his tenure as Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee on the Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, Congressman Scott authored several bills to improve and reform our nation's criminal justice system. He sponsored the Death in Custody Reporting Act, which enhances transparency and accountability for law enforcement by requiring state and local law enforcement agencies to report to the U.S. Department of Justice data on how many individuals die annually in custody or during arrest. In 2010, Congressman Scott successfully led efforts in the House to pass the Fair Sentencing Act, one of the first successful reductions in a federal mandatory minimum sentence in decades that reduced the unfair sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine. In 2015, he worked across the aisle to sponsor the Safe, Accountable, Fair, and Effective (SAFE) Justice Act, of which several important provisions were included in the bipartisan First Step Act signed into law by President Trump in 2018.

Congressman Scott was born on April 30, 1947 in Washington, D.C. and grew up in Newport News, Virginia. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Boston College Law School. After graduating from law school, he returned home to Newport News and practiced law from 1973 to 1991. As a young attorney, he founded the Peninsula Legal Aid Center to assist those who could not afford legal representation, and served as one of the youngest branch presidents of the Newport News NAACP. He received an honorable discharge for his service in the Massachusetts National Guard and the United States Army Reserve.