Scientists and technologists might soon be the new face of Congress. In a movement to get candidates with previous careers in science, technology, engineering and math to bid for open seats, there are roughly 60 researchers and technologists registered to run for federal office in 2018 and another 200 running for state legislature seats, according to data received from 314 Action reported by HuffPost.
The “historic wave of candidates with science backgrounds launching campaigns” will “multiply the number of scientists in Congress” if elected in 2018 midterm elections, according to HuffPost.
“These are people that are genuinely outraged and concerned by the direction the country is going in, especially in this administration and this Congress,” Shaughnessy Naughton, 314 Action founder, an organization leading the pro-science resistance, said to HuffPost.
With Rep. Bill Foster (D-Ill.) being the only Ph.D. scientist in Congress, Donald Trump, in his first year of presidency, hasn’t named a science adviser and, instead, continues to nominate climate deniers to his administration.
Scientists continue to experience “political backlash” not only from the Trump administration, but Congress alike.
According to HuffPost:
“The so-called war on science is being waged in Congress, too. Under the leadership of Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), a virulent climate change denier and fossil fuel ally, the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology has mounted repeated ‘witch hunts’ to tarnish the credibility of scientists, leading some to call it the ‘House (anti)science panel.'”
314 Action is “committed to electing more STEM candidates to office, advocating for evidence-based policy solutions to issues like climate change, and fighting the Trump administration’s attacks on science,” according to the organization’s website. The organization’s membership increased from 4,000 to 400,000 members in 2017 as many devote themselves to advocate for a “pro-science agenda in Washington, D.C. and in local and state legislatures,” according to 314 Action’s website.
“The sheer number is really astonishing,” Naughton, said to HuffPost. “Science is and always should be above politics.”