TopVet: Senator Scott Brown

Scott Brown

Scott Brown, a relative unknown just a few weeks ago, surged to national prominence by winning the Massachusetts Senate. Scott Brown's senate seat had previously been held by Ted Kennedy, making this Republican coup a shocker to most political observers. While there are clashing opinions on both sides of the aisle on how and why this happened, Brown credits his nearly 30 years in the Army and a set of strong personal discipline skills.

There was considerable buzz swirling around his stunning Senate victory and tidbits of gossip enlivened the race. Who knew that Brown's daughter was a semifinalist on American Idol or that as a law student, he was a centerfold for Cosmo magazine?  Each of his parents had married four times, and amid the family turmoil, he even got arrested for shoplifting during his adolescent years.

“I grew up fast,” he said, according to the New York Times. “I remember waking up in the middle of the night, and hearing the banging and screams and having to be the 5- or 6-year old boy having to save Mom.”

Then, he found himself inspired by Massachusetts National Guardsmen helping his state safely endure the great blizzard of 1978, and was immediately filled with a sense of purpose and a need to serve others. Crediting his “Army values,” as reported by the New York Times, Senator Brown's National Guard career has lasted nearly three decades, a legacy of which he is very proud. Brown currently holds the rank of Lt. Colonel in the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps.

Many observers are calling him a key vote in the controversial health care debate surrounding the beltway politics of 2010, but Scott Brown hasn’t lost sight of what got him there. He has a deep commitment to taking care of his fellow veterans and their families, and identified veterans issues as one of the key reasons why he ran. As he says on his campaign Web site:

As a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army National Guard, I am uniquely aware of the importance and sacrifice of our men and women serving in the military. I have been a vigorous supporter of legislation providing benefits to returning service members, as well as, benefits for the families of those killed in action. I believe we need to recognize the sacrifice of all of our servicemembers by keeping better track of returning military personnel so they get the services they deserve. That includes providing them with first-class medical care and other benefits to which they are entitled. I am known as a leader on veterans' issues through my work on the Veterans and Federal Affairs Committee, the Hidden Wounds of War Commission, and the Governor's Task Force on Returning Veterans

According to the Boston Globe, Brown’s Senate committee preferences include armed services, homeland security, and appropriations.

Fellow veteran Jim Webb (D) of Virginia, who also rose to national prominence with his military service and promise to care for his fellow Veterans, was quick to praise Brown and his importance to Washington.

“I congratulate Scott Brown on his victory, and I look forward to working with him in the United States Senate,” he said in a statement soon after the final results become clear.

“In many ways the campaign in Massachusetts became a referendum not only on health care reform but also on the openness and integrity of our government process. It is vital that we restore the respect of the American people in our system of government and in our leaders. To that end, I believe it would only be fair and prudent that we suspend further votes on health care legislation until Senator-elect Brown is seated,” he added. Other senators later followed suit with similar calls.

Brown was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for meritorious service in homeland security following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. His career in public service began as selectman in Wrentham, less than an hour’s drive southwest of Boston. He then went on to serve three terms as a State Representative and won his current State Senate seat in a special election in 2004. He is currently in his third Senate term.

An accomplished triathlete, he credits the sport for his training discipline as well, and compared the sport to campaigning, where “you have to be good at everything.”

In 2004, Senator Brown received the Public Servant of the Year Award from the United Chamber of Commerce for his leadership in reforming the state's sex offender laws and protecting the rights of victims. He has also been recognized by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) for his work in creating an environment that encourages job growth and expansion in Massachusetts.

Senator Brown is a graduate of Wakefield High School, Tufts University, and Boston College Law School. He lives in Wrentham, MA with his wife Gail and their two daughters, Ayla, a student at Boston College, and Arianna, a student at Syracuse University.

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