On the Ballot: House of Representatives 3rd District

Bobby Scott (left) Marty Williams (right)
Bobby Scott (left) Marty Williams (right)

Earlier this year, The Supreme Court justices unanimously dismissed a GOP appeal over Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District. Republican members of Congress wanted the Supreme Court to reinstate a districting map — one that was previously thrown out by a lower court in Richmond. According to the lower court, Virginia illegally packed minority voters into Representative Bobby Scott’s district to make neighboring districts safer for Republican incumbents. District lines are redrawn every 10 years, based on the latest United States Census. Federal law states districts must have nearly equal populations and must not discriminate on the basis of race or ethnicity.

New Congressional Map

In January, the lower court unveiled a new congressional map for use in this year’s elections. The district includes parts of: Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Newport News, Hampton, Isle of Wight, Suffolk and Franklin.

Republican Marty Williams is running against Scott for the seat November 8.


Bobby Scott (D) (Incumbent)

(Information courtesy of http://www.bobbyscottforcongress.com/about-bobby/)

Congressman Bobby Scott was re-elected in 2014 to a twelfth term serving the citizens of Virginia’s third congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives. Prior to serving in Congress, Bobby served 15 years in the Virginia General Assembly where he focused his legislative efforts on creating jobs, increasing access to affordable healthcare, improving education and economic opportunities, promoting evidence-based crime prevention strategies and enhancing consumer protections. Bobby’s legislative successes in the General Assembly include raising Virginia’s minimum wage, enhancing opportunities for Virginia’s families, and establishing the Governor’s Employment and Training Council.

In November 1992, Bobby was elected to represent Virginia’s third congressional district. With this election, Bobby made history by becoming the first African-American elected to Congress from Virginia since the Reconstruction-era. Because his maternal grandfather immigrated from the Philippines during the Spanish-American War, Bobby also has the distinction of being the first voting member of Congress with Filipino ancestry.

bobby-scottIn Congress, Bobby currently serves as the top Democrat on the influential Education and the Workforce Committee. In his role as the Ranking Member of the Committee, Bobby is leading the charge to ensure access to a quality and affordable education for all of America’s children. In 2015, Bobby was one of the lead negotiators of the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act, which replaced the No Child Left Behind Act and reauthorized the landmark Elementary and Secondary Education Act. He is also working to make college more affordable, so that young people are not saddled with unmanageable levels of student debt. Bobby is also fighting to raise the minimum wage, to enact policies that uplift America’s working families, and to protect access to affordable healthcare for all.

Bobby has earned a reputation in Congress as an ardent defender of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. He voted against the USA PATRIOT Act and has tirelessly fought to strengthen protections for individual civil liberties and privacy.

Bobby is also a leading voice on smart and effective criminal justice reform. He has sponsored the Youth PROMISE Act, which would provide resources to state and local governments for evidenced-based juvenile crime prevention programs. Bobby has also partnered with conservative Republican Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner in authoring the Safe, Accountable, Fair and Effective (SAFE) Justice Act, which has been heralded as one of the most comprehensive reforms to our nation’s broken criminal justice system. The Sensenbrenner-Scott SAFE Justice Act has attracted the support of liberals and conservatives inside and outside of Congress. And in 2014, Bobby’s Death in Custody Reporting Act was signed into law by President Obama. The Act requires law enforcement agencies to report to the U.S. Department of Justice data on individuals who die in custody or in the course of arrest.

On protecting our region’s defense interests, Bobby is an active member of the Congressional Shipbuilding Caucus and is a leading advocate for shipbuilding, shipbuilders, and our men and women in uniform. He sponsored the House version of the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, which was signed into law by President Bush in 2008 and has been credited as the largest expansion of veteran educational benefits since World War II. The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America has regularly given Bobby an A rating for his work on behalf of our nation’s veterans.

Because of his penchant for working long hours in the Capitol and consistently barnstorming the third district to make himself available to everyone he represents, Bobby was recognized as one of the 25 hardest working Members of Congress by The Hill newspaper in 2010.

The son of a doctor and a public school teacher, Bobby grew up in the southeast community of Newport News and has devoted his life and career in service to his community. He attended Harvard College and received his law degree from Boston College. During and immediately after law school, he served in the National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserve. After passing the Virginia bar exam, Bobby returned home to Newport News to practice law. To ensure representation of those unable to afford an attorney, Bobby founded the Peninsula Legal Aid Center. He also served as one of the youngest branch presidents of the Newport News NAACP. Bobby is an active member of many community organizations and is a member of St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church in southeast Newport News.


Marty Williams (R)

(Information courtesy of http://martywilliamscongress.com/index.php/about/)

Marty Williams was born in the Hampton Roads area and grew up in Chesapeake.

During WWII, his father was a merchant marine, and his mother served in the nurse’s cadet corp. Their shared experiences during one of the toughest times in our Nation’s history left a lasting impact on Marty and his family.

Marty and his siblings were taught the value of hard work, the importance of upholding moral ideals, and to never give up during difficult times. They were also taught to have pride in our country and to appreciate the liberties and opportunities that come with being an American.

It is those closely held values that Marty will bring to the US Congress.

Just two weeks after graduating from high school, Marty and his friends were hit head-on by a drunk driver. The tragic accident took the life of one of martyMarty’s closest friends, and Marty suffered severe injuries. The harrowing experience motivated Marty to ensure that others were not victimized by those who act recklessly without regard to the rights of others.

Marty enrolled in college and earned a degree in Police Science. Following graduation, he joined the Chesapeake Police Department where he served 25 years before an injury incurred in the line of duty forced him into retirement.

Law enforcement not only forged Marty into a ‘law and order’ person, but also into one that sincerely cares about the needs of others.

During his career, he earned several distinguished awards and was named “Police Officer of the Year”. He has also been featured on several crime-related television shows about the cases he has helped solved.

Marty has seen how some members of our society are not treated fairly. He’s worked in difficult neighborhoods where he has witnessed hunger, despair and social suffering. Having a deep compassion for others, he has and will continue to help those in need.

Marty takes an active interest in the community. He currently serves as the Chairman of the Chesapeake Planning Commission—a role that requires long hours of hard work. While the job can be challenging, Marty finds it rewarding to participate in decisions and formulate ideas that help shape the physical, social, and economic future of his community. He is recognized as a skilled organizer and one who brings people together to get things done.

Marty enjoys being an active member in his many social and fraternal organizations. He loves nature and being outdoors and especially enjoys winter sports, hunting and watching the Norfolk Tides play baseball. But, his greatest joy comes from spending time with his family and friends.

He and his wife Kathy are active members at Aldersgate United Methodist Church. They live in the Western Branch area of Chesapeake with their adorable and precocious dog, Steinway.