DemDaily: Standing Up for Science

August 3, 2017

Among the professional constituencies producing new members motivated to run by President Trump's attacks on their livelihood are scientists or STEM candidates - those who work in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

Pic: Mother Jones

During the campaign Trump railed against climate change as "a hoax" and during transition, in a veiled threat to the scientific community, famously asked for a list of all employees who had worked on global warming from the Department of Energy.

Trump stacked his cabinet with individuals on the STEM public enemies list of naysayers on the environment, climate change, science and related funding and research, including DOE Secretary and former Texas Governor Rick Perry, who advocated for elimination of DOE during his own presidential campaign.

Trump's Environmental Protection Agency Director, Scott Pruitt, has ousted half of his agency's scientific advisory board, and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has reassigned over two dozen senior staffers who work on environmental issues.

Current Congress
According to the Congressional Research Service, just 41 of the 535 Members of the 114th Congress have a   background in medicine, science, or engineering, and just five of those self-identify as having occupations in science.

STEM advocates count among their Congressional allies Jerry McNerney (CA-9), Paul Tonko (NY 20), Louis Slaughter (NY 25) and Bill Foster (IL-11).

With few defenders in Congress, Democrats are rising to the call with the help of a new group, 314 Action (named for the first three digits of Pi).

"Traditionally the attitude has been that science is above politics, and therefore scientists shouldn't get involved in politics, and what that ignores is the fact that politicians are unashamed to meddle in science."  -- Shaughnessy Naughton, Founder 314 Action

The PAC, lead by former Pennsylvania Congressional candidate and Chemist, Shaughnessy Naughton, was created to recruit, train and support STEM candidates at the federal, state and local level, and to advocate "for evidence-based policy solutions to issues like climate change, and fighting the Trump administration's attacks on science." Since its founding, over 6,000 scientists have contacted 314 Action about running for office.

2018 Democratic STEM Candidates

US Senate/ Congressional District
Democratic Challenger
Republican Incumbent
Nevada, US Senate Congresswoman Jackie Rosen (NV-3), former Computer Programmer and Software Developer, Renewable Energy Advocate Dean Heller
California 25 Jess Phoenix, Volcanologist Steve Knight
California 39 Mai-Khanh Tran, Pediatrician  Ed Royce
California 39 Phil Janowicz, former Cal State Fullerton chemistry professor Ed Royce
California 48 Hans Kierstead, PhD neuroscientist and world-renowned Stem Cell researcher Dana Rohrabacher
New York 1 Elaine DiMasi, Physicist Lee Zeldin
Pennsylvania 6 Chrissy Houlahan, former Science Teacher, Engineer and founding COO of B-Lab Ryan Costello
Texas 7 Jason Westin, Oncologist and Researcher John Culberson
Texas 21 Joseph Kosper, Aerospace Engineer Lamar Smith

List is based on numerous research sources and may not be complete.

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Sources: Mother Jones, Wired, CNN, 315 Action, The Nation, CRS

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