Rep. Tim Scott takes turn pumping gas at West Ashley Exxon
U.S. Rep. Tim Scott’s first job as a 13-year-old was pumping gas and washing windshields, and he visited a West Ashley service station Wednesday morning to do just that.
Veep talk ‘a nice honor’
U.S. Rep. Tim Scott, R-S.C., isn’t on many lists of possible GOP vice presidential candidates, but like many mentioned as possible running mates for presumed nominee Mitt Romney, Scott said he’s not interested.
The freshman congressman said Wednesday it’s “a nice honor” to be mentioned in such a context, but added, “There have been no serious conversations whatsoever” about him being tapped as the vice presidential nominee.
“I am not a viable option for the ticket, nor do I want to be,” he said.
Only this time, Scott was after more than a little spending money. The South Carolina Republican tried to earn points with constituents upset about high gas prices and Washington’s inability to solve problems.
From most appearances, he did that, although many visitors preferred to talk instead about reforming public education, improving care for the nation’s veterans or helping small businesses.
Scott noted gas prices have more than doubled in the past few years and said the United States must do more to tap its extensive reserves of coal, oil and natural gas.
“This is not a global issue to most people. This is an issue that hits their pocketbooks, their wallets and their families,” he said.
Even some of his supporters, such as Bob Seidler of West Ashley, were skeptical that Washington can do much to change that.
“The cost of gas is because of global demand,” he said. “It just isn’t a political issue. When (former GOP presidential candidate) Newt Gingrich said we’ll have it down to $2.50 a gallon, that’s just rhetoric. It doesn’t happen that way.”
Scott handed out laminated cards listing eight bills he has co-sponsored or voted for that he said would lower prices.
For Mike Hadbavny of West Ashley, who brought a handmade sign to Scott’s event, the solution can be found in five letters: “D-R-I-L-L.”
Robert Suggs, whose family has owned the Exxon for 34 years, said his family budget is dented while commuting from Hollywood to West Ashley. He also said his profit margin is so low on gas, “It’s been all I can do to keep my employees here.”
Others wanted to bend Scott’s ear on other topics. Victor Boudolph of West Ashley, who owns a small software business, said he wanted to see Congress push for more education in computer science, a health care system decoupled from employment and programs to make it easier for people to get out of debt and move to where the jobs are.
“I don’t care that much about fuel prices,” he said. “I know they’re going to go up.”
Bob Hawes of James Island urged Scott to join the Black Congressional Caucus and urge them to improve education in predominantly African-American schools, partly by curbing the clout of teachers’ unions.
And Steve Burris showed Scott a metal device Burris has patented to stop gas nozzles from dripping. He asked for Scott’s help to get the federal government to mandate their use, saying they would cost as little as $5 to $7 apiece to install.
“See those drips?” Burris asked as he shook the nozzle over the ground. “Kind of wasteful.”
Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771.