Kettering’s Rob Scott leaving his mark on the political scene.
By Tim Walker
Oh, and he was one of the leaders of President Donald Trump’s successful presidential campaign here in the state of Ohio.
“I consider myself a ‘practical conservative,’” says Scott. “In order to be practical you have to be able to acknowledge what you can actually get done versus the things that you want to get done. You can’t always get that 100 percent but if you can get 80 percent then fight for that last 20 percent on down the road—well, that’s where I’m at as far as being a conservative goes.”
Scott, a lifelong resident of Kettering, graduated from Fairmont High School in 2000 and later received his bachelors degree in political science and urban affairs from Wright State University and an honors juris doctorate degree from the University of Dayton. He is currently an adjunct instructor at National College. Scott previously worked as a legislative aide for the Ohio House of Representatives and he also served on the ballot committee for a statewide initiative to end Ohio’s estate tax.
Prior to working on Trump’s successful presidential campaign in 2016, Scott managed Clayton Mayor Joyce Deitering’s unsuccessful 2012 race against then-state Rep. Roland Winburn. He is now serving as a senior adviser on U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci’s team as the four-term congressman and former Wadsworth mayor cranks up his campaign for Ohio governor, an office that is up for grabs in the 2018 election.
“I know there are some conservatives out there, ones you might call purists,” Scott says, “who feel that if it’s not 100 percent then it’s nothing. I would not consider myself fully in that camp because I like to get stuff done. The reality of the world, however, is that not everyone is going to see the world exactly like I do.”
The idea of his fellow Republicans not quite seeing eye to eye with him is something Scott has dealt with repeatedly in the past. When it was announced that he would be working for Trump’s presidential campaign Scott was told repeatedly by his peers, and in no uncertain terms, that he was making a mistake and that his career in politics would be over if he joined the campaign—predictions which seem a bit strident and misguided when seen in the hindsight of Trump’s 2016 victory.
On a level a bit more closer to home, when Scott announced his resignation as chairman of the Montgomery County Republican Party in September 2013—he was a mere 17 months into a four-year term—it revealed a deep and ongoing division within the local Republican party. Sheriff Phil Plummer stepped in to fill the vacant chairman position and Scott said at the time that he had encountered resistance from old guard party members over his efforts to bring in fresh grassroots candidates from the business community and re-brand the local party to make it more inclusive. In his resignation letter at the time Scott blamed the division in the party on a disagreement of direction.
When asked what initially sparked his interest in politics Scott laughs and says, “It started when I was a young kid. When I was growing up my parents would talk about issues at the dinner table and I was expected to participate. In my family both my mother and my father were both pretty hardcore Republicans and my dad used to make me watch the original Crossfire and The McLaughlin Group with him. So when I was young I used to sit there and watch these shows with him and I actually enjoyed it.
“But what really pushed me into wanting to be involved,” he says, “was that there was a guy running for re-election of president of the United States. This was in 1991. He came through my hometown of Kettering during his campaign … that person was President George H.W. Bush. And I had the opportunity to meet him because I was an honors student and I was a member of one of the classrooms that got to meet him at Fairmont. That’s something that is just burned into my memory, meeting him as a young kid and it has stayed with me. I went on to volunteer for Bob Dole in 1995 when I was in middle school and just continued on from there.”
When he was elected at the age of 28 Scott became the youngest person ever to be elected as a councilman in the city of Kettering. Scott’s primary areas of legal practice at the Oldham & Deitering firm are family and criminal law, and while in law school Scott was class president of the Student Bar Association and also served as executive vice president of the Student Bar Association. He is a former member of Dayton Right to Life Board of Trustees and is also a member of the Dayton Masonic Lodge and Kettering Rotary. He is single with no children and was named one of Dayton’s notable “Forty Under 40” professionals by the Dayton Business Journal in 2015.
But it his interest in improving the quality of life for all citizens that continues to motivate Scott as he moves forward with his political career. “People want change,” he says. “They want things to be better for us as a nation. And a lot of our elected officials are still getting in the way of that. We have some problems here in the United States and we need to be willing to address those.
“I don’t know where I’m going to be in 10 years,” he says. “But I do know I’ll still be involved.”
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