The first Black speaker of the House of Delegates takes pride in his rural roots (Cardinal News)

Stephen Farnsworth, a political scientist at the University of Mary Washington, said that Scott’s background and willingness to connect with Republican legislators from Southwest is unusual for a Democrat, but it could benefit both sides. “Given the fact that the Southwest Virginia delegation is almost entirely Republican, the political influence of the region is greatest when there is a Republican majority. And because Democrats tend to do poorly in the region, a number of Democrats might not be interested in focusing on the region’s concerns,” Farnsworth said.