D.C. Insider Says Scientists Must Court Politicians

Former congressman Walgren, now a lobbyist, advises his clients to befriend lawmakers before advancing their own cause WASHINGTON--Scientists who feel frustrated because they can't get Congress to consider their remedies for what ails science can take a tip from a former legislator who is already sympathetic to their cause: Leave your data at home and start thinking instead about becoming friends with the congressional member whose ear you're trying to gain. Doug Walgren was such a frien

Jeffrey Mervis
Apr 1, 1991


Former congressman Walgren, now a lobbyist, advises his clients to befriend lawmakers before advancing their own cause
WASHINGTON--Scientists who feel frustrated because they can't get Congress to consider their remedies for what ails science can take a tip from a former legislator who is already sympathetic to their cause: Leave your data at home and start thinking instead about becoming friends with the congressional member whose ear you're trying to gain.

Doug Walgren was such a friend. He was a staunch advocate of science during a career in which he served as chairman of the House science committee's research and technology subcommittee, which over- sees the National Science Foundation.

He also served as chairman of the subcommittee on consumer protection and competitiveness within the Energy and Commerce Committee, which oversees the National Institutes of Health. The seven-term incumbent Democrat was upset last November in a close race in his suburban...

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