Menu

US Scientists Running for Office in Record Numbers

A science-oriented political action committee is supporting candidates across the country.

Mar 5, 2018
Jim Daley

ISTOCK, ADAMKAZ

Only one member of Congress currently holds a PhD in science, but Bill Foster (D-IL), a physicist who formerly worked at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, may soon have some company. More than 60 candidates running for federal office in 2018 have backgrounds in science and technology, according to HuffPost.

“The attacks on science and the scientific method and just generally the disrespect for scientific truth is something that has all scientists on edge,” Foster told The New Republic last year.

Aerospace engineer and candidate for Texas’s 21st Congressional District Joseph Kosper agrees with Foster. “I absolutely feel that science is under attack,” Kosper tells The Washington Post. “It’s the opposite of when John F. Kennedy said he wanted to get us to the moon in less than 10 years. The way Trump is going, in 10 years, he’ll have us back in caves.” Kosper has a significant fundraising lead over his opponents, according to Science, which tagged him as one of several “candidates to watch” last month.

Kosper’s primary motivation for running was to unseat incumbent Lamar Smith, who has held office since 1987. Kosper’s website calls Smith, who is retiring this year, “one of American politics’ principal opponents of . . . fact-based scientific inquiry.” According to Ars Technica, Smith has accused climate scientists of operating “outside the principles of the scientific method.”

Kosper is one of several candidates supported by 314 Action, a political action committee (PAC) that helps scientists running for office connect with donors and plan campaigns. 314 Action was founded in 2014 by chemist and former breast cancer researcher Shaughnessy Naughton after she ran unsuccessfully for Congress in Pennsylvania’s 8th District. The organization saw a surge in interest after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, and again when the administration left the Paris Climate Agreement, The Atlantic reports. “There’s been one thing after another with this administration that’s engaged our community,” Naughton tells The Atlantic. She adds that more than 7,000 people have filled out 314 Action’s candidate recruitment form since January 2017. The PAC is currently working with 30 congressional candidates nationwide, according to The Post.

“I’ve always had a hard time understanding why members of Congress like to tell scientists how to conduct their research,” Foster told The New Republic in 2017. “Scientists should set the standards for research. Not politicians.”

April 2019

Will Car T Cells Smash Tumors?

New trials take the therapy beyond the blood

Marketplace

Sponsored Product Updates

Getting More Consistent Results by Knowing the Quality of Your Protein
Getting More Consistent Results by Knowing the Quality of Your Protein
Download this guide from NanoTemper to learn how to identify and evaluate the quality of your protein samples!
Myth Busting: The Best Way to Use Pure Water in the Lab
Myth Busting: The Best Way to Use Pure Water in the Lab
Download this white paper from ELGA LabWater to learn about the role of pure water in the laboratory and the advantages of in-house water purification!
Shimadzu's New Nexera UHPLC Series with AI and IoT Enhancements Sets Industry Standard for Intelligence, Efficiency and Design
Shimadzu's New Nexera UHPLC Series with AI and IoT Enhancements Sets Industry Standard for Intelligence, Efficiency and Design
Shimadzu Corporation announces the release of the Nexera Ultra High-Performance Liquid Chromatograph series, incorporating artificial intelligence as Analytical Intelligence, allowing systems to detect and resolve issues automatically. The Nexera series makes lab management simple by integrating IoT and device networking, enabling users to easily review instrument status, optimize resource allocation, and achieve higher throughput.
IDT lowers genomic barriers with powerful rhAmpSeq™ targeted sequencing system
IDT lowers genomic barriers with powerful rhAmpSeq™ targeted sequencing system
Increasing accuracy and reducing cost barriers, IDT’s innovative system delivers simple and cost-effective amplicon sequencing