The Mountain State’s TRUSTED news source.

Click here to stay informed and subscribe to The Charleston Gazette-Mail.

Click #isupportlocal for more information on supporting our local journalists.

Learn more about HD Media

U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., is a big man, well over 6 feet tall and solid. I met him once at a Barnes and Noble in North Charleston, South Carolina, a couple of years ago.

He possessed two qualities that I carried away from our brief chat. First, he seems very secure in himself, neither weak nor boastful, just confident and respectful to others.

Second, he was relaxed, in a way that led me to believe that it would take a lot to rattle him. The serious yet genial Tim Scott you see on TV from the U.S. Capitol is the same Tim Scott you meet in person.

Scott’s stock was already rising before the U.S. Capitol riot. But now is a good time to invest in Scott’s future as a statesman or perhaps even a Republican 2024 presidential nominee.

Here’s why. Scott has presented a serious plan for an 18 member, bipartisan “Election Integrity Commission” to study America’s elections and how to improve them.

Notably, this commission would not be tied specifically to the 2020 election cycle, allowing for a broader view of what should be done to help all U.S. voters have more faith in our elections.

Contrast Scott’s more deliberative approach with the political opportunism of Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex. Cruz wanted a quickie, 10-day 2020 election “audit” before Inauguration Day this week.

The timing — which would have forestalled certification of the Electoral College results — was suspect from the start. Cruz and friends used their plan to aid in their fundraising efforts, which says it all.

Never forget that Cruz ran for president in 2016 and thirsts for another run.

Meanwhile, Scott impresses with his stability and deliberative approach to understanding the real challenges involved in improving our elections.

Scott has been on many national political observers’ radar for several years. He first distinguished himself on the Charleston, South Carolina, city council, then was elected to Congress, representing that state’s 1st Congressional District.

Republican Gov. Nikki Haley appointed him to the U.S. Senate in 2013, and he subsequently won a special election in 2014 and another for a full term in 2016.

Thus, Scott will be in an enviable position come 2024.

For, if Scott wins reelection for another six-year term in 2022, as seems likely, he can run for president in 2024 without losing his Senate seat if he falls short.

Scott is one U.S. Senator to watch because of his record as a steady political leader but also because of his compelling life story.

People in South Carolina are familiar with Scott’s poignant account of how his mother instilled a love of education in him, despite not knowing how to read herself. She would require her son to read his lessons to her when he got home from school each day. She only gave her approval when he was fully done reading his lessons to her.

As a result, Scott explains that he became a good student while never realizing at the time that his mother couldn’t read.

Tim Scott is currently the only Black U.S. Senator in the Republican Party. He often serves as a gentle but firm conscience on race issues, reminding his party of the different perspective of a minority U.S. senator.

On the other hand, Scott has been elected several times now in solidly-Republican South Carolina, owing to his generally conservative economic and social positions.

Scott comes across as very hopeful for America’s future while being clear-eyed about our country’s challenges, both foreign and domestic.

Don’t be surprised if you read more about Senator Scott in the months and years ahead. He attracts a loyal and growing following with his quiet charisma and sober judgment.

His style and substance put him on the short list for 2024 GOP presidential contenders.

Stephen N. Reed is a former deputy secretary of state.