Transcript: Remarks by Sen. Jim DeMint on the appointment of Tim Scott as his replacement
Edited by Jenny Jiang
Transcript of press conference remarks by retiring Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) on the appointment of his replacement Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) on Dec. 17, 2012:
Governor, when you say there’ll never be anyone like me in the Senate again, most of Washington says, “Thank goodness.”
But I’m excited about what’s going on today. But the only thing – one of the few things I worried about when I was considering leaving the Senate was who would replace me. Because I knew Gov. [Nikki] Haley would put someone in this seat that we would all be proud of and would continue to stand for those principles of freedom and opportunity that I’ve worked on while I was in the Senate.
So Governor, thank you for your faithfulness to our cause and for your good judgement.
And Tim [Scott], I could not be happier today. And I appreciate the compliments but I can walk away from the Senate knowing that someone is in this seat that is better than I am, that will carry that voice of opportunity, conservatism, to the whole country in a way that I couldn’t do.
I’m going to keep working for that cause but I can tell you, Tim, you’ve inspired me since the first time I heard you speak in public, and our country needs those positive, optimistic voices right now to encourage people that there is a way out of this quagmire we’re in in Washington. You’ve got the right ideas, and I know you’re going to inspire a lot of other people too. And thank you for being willing to do this.
And I, too, thank your mom. I had a mom that understood that the best ideas were the end of a switch too sometimes.
I want to say a few words about Sen. Lindsey Graham, who’s been a great partner to me. And sometimes he’s been the good guy and sometimes he’s been the bad guy and I’ve been the good guy, and we switched around and we worked real well together in Washington. He’s a great Senator, does a good job on so many different issues. And so I’ve been proud to serve with him and I’ll continue to work with him from my perch over at the Heritage Foundation.
Tim, I feel the same way you do about our congressional delegation. I could not be prouder of our state. We’re sending folks like this to stand in Washington and fight for the right ideas, and they’ve certainly done it with a lot of integrity and courage. Wonderful men of character. And I greatly appreciate it.
It’s been the honor and privilege of my life to serve the people of South Carolina in the United States Senate.
Debbie and I and my whole family are so thankful for the encouragements, support over the years. Everywhere we go, people just grab my arms and say, “Thanks for fighting. We’re praying for you.”
And so often I hear people say, “What can I do?”
People in this state want to make a difference and it really has inspired me to take that idea all around the country. And by doing that, I have seen that if we take our case to the American people, we can change what happens in Washington. It’s slow. It’s a two-steps forward and one-step back but we’ve changed the face of the Senate, and we have changed things that were so parochial that they interfered with our national good.
And we’ve been able to get the conversation moving in the right direction but only because people all across the country – like we saw in South Carolina – were willing to get engaged, to get involved, and to make a difference.
Most people agree that our country is on an unsustainable course.
Last week, Gov. Mitch Daniels – he said that the policies are already in place that will essentially bring our country down and that the friends of freedom all over the country have to be ready with the new infrastructure.
The reason I’m leaving the Senate is I believe that this idea of taking a case to the American people is something that I can do much more effectively in the Heritage Foundation knowing that my seat is filled with someone who’s going to continue to take the stands that we need to in the Senate.
The Heritage Foundation provided the policies for the Reagan administration and for the Republican revolution and continues to develop the best ideas – the ideas that work and present them all over the country.
I’ve talked to a number of Governors since I’ve made this decision – Rick Perry, Chris Christie, Scott Walker in addition to Gov. Haley. They recognize that what the federal government is doing is likely to end up with some type of meltdown.
But the good news is this: All over the country, states are implementing these conservative ideas that are working. And we see states like South Carolina and state like Michigan copy us.
When we don’t force workers to join unions, your economy grows, companies move and want to be a part of what’s happening here.
When you give parents more choices of education, it helps all children – low-income children, minority children. We see it all over the country and we can prove it with real research.
When states have the right to develop their own energy – like we’ve seen in North Dakota and Pennsylvania – the revenues that come into the government help to build better roads, better schools, and keep taxes low. That’s an opportunity that I hope we can have in South Carolina.
And when states can control more of their transportation and infrastructure dollars, they can be more efficient and do much better than we are – we can do now under the federal regime.
So the principles of freedom are working all over the country. We need to spotlight them, showcase them, communicate them all over the country so that people see that these ideas work. And at the same time, they’re going to be able to look at Washington over the next few years and see that the ideas that are in place are not working. They’re dragging us down.
And so when Washington hits a wall, which we know they will, the friends of freedom here in South Carolina and all over the country are going to be ready – not with political ideas but with American ideas – ideas that we know are working, we can point to and show that they’re working for a 100% of Americans.
That’s what I’m going to be doing in the next few years. I’m not getting out of the fight. I’m raising my game. And I know that I’ve got a partner now in Tim Scott as well as Lindsey Graham and Gov. Haley and all of you who are here today. And I am just so grateful for the opportunity to serve, and I promise you that I’m going to keep serving and fight the same way that you’ve seen in the past.
Thank you, Governor.
- C-Span.org: Video of Gov. Haley’s (R-SC) announcement that Rep. Scott will replace Sen. DeMint
- NationalJournal.com: Who Is Tim Scott?
- WhatTheFolly.com: Tim Scott appointed to replace Jim DeMint in the Senate
- WhatTheFolly.com: Transcript: South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley appoints Tim Scott to replace Jim DeMint in U.S. Senate
- WhatTheFolly.com: Transcript: Tim Scott’s remarks on replacing Jim DeMint in the U.S. Senate