U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-York County, has repeatedly been mentioned during the January 6th Committee’s investigation into the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Revelations from the committee probe include communications Perry had with former Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows pushing conspiracy theories involving Italian satellites changes votes - and pushing to install a Trump loyalist as head of the Justice Department. Testimony also alleged Perry sought a pardon from the White House, though he has denied that assertion. Perry has declined to testify before the committee. On Aug. 9, Perry said his cellphone was seized by FBI agents with a search warrant.
Here are 12 things to know about Scott Perry:
He grew up poor and made a name for himself
Perry pulled himself up by his bootstraps. The York County Republican was born in California but his mother and siblings moved to South Central Pennsylvania to start a new life. For a period of time growing up, he said, the family used a generator for power, taking their water from a pump. When his mother lost her airline job, she took work for a wholesale food company and brought home expired foods that could no longer be sold publicly for her kids to eat. After he graduated from Northern High School and Cumberland-Perry Vocational/Technical School with an auto mechanics certification, he worked a series of full-time jobs, attended Harrisburg Area Community College and later Penn State Harrisburg, eventually earning a bachelor's degree in 1991. Then Perry started his own mechanical contracting business, Hydrotech Mechanical Services, went to Officer Candidate School and became an officer in the National Guard.
In the guard, he deployed to Iraq in 2009 and ultimately attained the rank of brigadier general.
He was also passionate about politics. He was first involved in the Republican State Committee.
He was charged by PA for altering reports at a sewage plant
Perry served in the Pennsylvania House before he was elected to Congress, where he is in his fifth term. Prior to his state House election, he ran a small family business called Hydrotech Mechanical Services. The state charged Perry in 2002, along with another Hydrotech employee, with forwarding altered reports at a sewage plant related to levels of chlorine and acidity of water discharged into a creek. He entered the state's Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program, and Hydrotech was fined $5,000. Perry completed the program and his record was expunged.
He said people need guns to protect themselves from the government
In 2011, Perry authored legislation to expand Pennsylvania's "Castle Doctrine," which allows people to defend themselves against intruders in their homes. During a debate about that bill, he told the Allentown Morning Call that citizens need guns "to protect ourselves from an overbearing government that does not do the will of the people," though he was a military officer whose soldiers might be the targets of those protecting themselves from the government. At the time, Perry's critics said the comment sounded like the words of a militia member.
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He voted no on Violence Against Women Act
In the U.S. House, Perry voted against the Senate-approved version of the Violence Against Women Act but voted for an earlier House version of the bill. The Senate bill was broader in scope, offering protections to gays, lesbians, immigrants and Native American women.
He voted for the Respect for Marriage Act
In 2022, Perry, who now leads the conservative House Freedom Caucus after leaving the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus in 2017, voted in favor of a bill that would protect gay marriage. He said the vote was a bipartisan codification that interracial married couples will not face discrimination and is one step toward salving the wounds of years of injustice.
He was an early proponent of legalizing medical marijuana
Perry introduced a bill called the Charlotte’s Web Medical Access Act, which would remove federal barriers to use of medical marijuana for a short list of conditions such as epilepsy. At a town hall meeting held by Perry in 2014, he said he was a proponent of medical marijuana, but he made clear he did not support recreational use of the drug.
He blamed God and trees for polluting the Chesapeake
At a 2017 town hall meeting in Red Lion, Perry cited God as a possible violator of environmental regulations. Asked about proposed budget cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency, Perry, talked about "appropriate levels of protection" and cited the Chesapeake Bay cleanup plans that he said were unfair, focusing on some sources of pollution while leaving others alone. "And, if you believe in, if you are spiritual and you believe in God, one of the violators was God because the forests were providing a certain amount of nitrates and phosphates to the Chesapeake Bay," he said. Environmental experts say riparian buffers (trees) near waterways actually protect them from pollution runoff.
He blamed ISIS for Las Vegas attack
After the tragic mass shooting in Las Vegas, Perry alleged that ISIS was responsible for the attack, though law enforcement authorities had concluded that the shooter was an Iowa-born man with no ISIS connection.
He praised the federal response to Hurricane Maria
Perry downplayed the effects of the disaster in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. In October 2017, he got into a heated argument with CNN host Chris Cuomo over the federal government's response. "Mr. Cuomo, you're simply just making this stuff up," Perry said during the interview, adding, "If half the country didn't have food or water, those people would be dying, and they're not." He also said, “At some point, it’s up to Puerto Rico to get themselves out of this situation and help their people.”
He questioned the existence of systemic racism in the US
At the Rotary Club of York in 2020, Perry questioned the existence of systemic racism. "To say the United States falls into that category of systemic racism, that belies the fact that we had a war to cleanse our country of that issue," Perry said. "The propensity of these events is actually going down. It’s the sensationalism of these events that’s changed."
He voted against gold medals for Capitol Police after Jan. 6
Perry voted against a plan to give congressional gold medals to the U.S. Capitol Police and the Washington D.C., metropolitan police department for their service during the Jan. 6 riot. The House of Representatives passed the proposal with bipartisan support, but Perry was one of 21 Republicans who voted "no." The congressman told a Politico reporter, "it’s all politics, it’s all garbage" when asked about the bill.
Perry urged Congress to delay certifying the election results, writing in a tweet that he was "obliged to concur" with state lawmakers to "DELAY cert of EC to allow for due process in pursuit of election integrity in a key case before SCOTUS." On Jan. 6, when Congress convened to certify the election outcome, he objected to accepting the results from his home state.
Kaity Assaf is a regional news reporter for the USA Today Network. Contact her at email@example.com, on Twitter @kaitythekite or by phone, 717-472-0960. Please support local journalism with a digital subscription.
This article originally appeared on York Daily Record: 12 things to know about U.S. Rep. Scott Perry - a focus of Jan. 6 probe