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2018 is the year of scientists running for Congress

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March 4 2018 Read full Washington Post article here

…Part of a nationwide wave of scientifically trained people running for office at every level of government this year, Kopser said he was motivated to run because he sees science being devalued in society — particularly by the Trump administration…

…The rising activism among scientists is a turnaround for a group that has traditionally seen politics as “grimy and grubby,” said G. Terry Madonna, a professor of public affairs at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa. Many of these candidates have been recruited by 314 Action, a political action committee founded in 2016 to support policymakers who have scientific or technical backgrounds.

Named for the first three digits of pi, 314 Action describes itself as the vanguard of “the pro-science resistance.” The group’s founder, Shaughnessy Naughton, said 7,000 people have responded to the group’s call to run for office. The group has also assembled a network of about 400,000 donors eager to support candidates who back science-based policies.

While a few scientist-candidates are running as independents, most are Democrats making their first foray into party politics. (More than 80 percent of scientists in a 2014 Pew survey identified as Democrats or Democrat-leaning.) 314 Action is working with 30 congressional candidates across the country and expects to formally endorse about half that number…

…Scientists are scarce in Congress. Only one member has a doctoral degree in a physical science — Rep. Bill Foster (D-Ill.), a former high-energy physicist at Fermilab. Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.) worked as an engineer and has a PhD in mathematics. A few others have undergraduate science degrees, including Rep. Louise M. Slaughter (D-N.Y.), who studied microbiology and has a master’s degree in public health. Fourteen members of Congress are physicians, 12 of whom are Republicans. Seven have social science PhDs. An equal number are radio talk-show hosts. There are 200-plus lawyers….

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