Haley Picks Rep. Scott to Replace DeMint in the Senate

By Melanie Arter | December 17, 2012 | 1:47 PM EST

Tim Scott, R-S.C., Republican Congressman-elect for South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District, celebrates at his election night party in North Charleston, South Carolina, on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010. (AP Photo/Alice Keeney)

(CNSNews.com) Saying he “earned his seat,” South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley announced Monday that she has chosen Rep. Tim Scott to replace Republican Sen. Jim DeMint, making Scott the sixth African-American senator in U.S. history.

“What I will also tell you – and it is very important to me as a minority female – that Congressman Scott earned this seat. He earned this seat for the person that he is. He earned this seat for the results he has shown. He earned this seat for what I know he’s gonna’ do in making South Carolina and making our country proud,” Haley said.

Scott called for a moment of silence for Newtown, Conn., where 20-year-old Adam Lanza, killed 20 kids and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School and his mother before the rampage.

Scott praised his mother, a single parent who worked 16 hours a day and “believed that sometimes love has to come at the end of a switch – and she loved me a lot.”

He admitted that when he was flunking out of high school, his mother did not give up on him. He also found a mentor – a Chik-Fil-A operator – “who taught me some very basic, biblical business principles, and it has served me well.”

Scott said the nation needs “some backbone.”

“We need to make very difficult decisions. So often, we have a conversation about how do we create enough revenue to solve the problem,” he said. “Well I learned early in my 20s that if you have a problem with spending, there’s not enough revenue to make up for it.

“We have a spending problem, ladies and gentlemen, in America, and not a revenue problem, so it’s very difficult for us to fix the problems in a nation with $16 trillion of debt, with an annual deficit of more than a trillion dollars by simply talking about raising revenues on the top two percent,” Scott added.

“You can take all the revenue, all the revenue from the top two percent, and you simply could not close the annual deficit. That’s a challenge,” he said.

DeMint is stepping down to head the Heritage Foundation. Haley said there’s no replacing DeMint.

“In this decision and process that we went through, there is no replacing Jim DeMint. There is no replacing him. There is no one that can fill his shoes. There is no one that can really carry on that torch, and I think that says a lot about him. I think it says a lot about how he has changed the face of South Carolina in the way that we have a lot to be proud of,” she said.

Haley said she was “saddened and surprised” by DeMint’s announcement that he was leaving his position in the Senate and that the Heritage Foundation “is blessed.”

“He will lift them up to an amazing new level. It’s a foundation that I have always had great respect for, and they could not have made a more perfect pick,” she said.