New group aims to do for scientists what Emily’s List did for female candidates

[ Originally published on this site as post ]

Breast cancer researcher Shaughnessy Naughton ran unsuccessfully for Congress in Pennsylvania in both 2014 and 2016. Now, she’s got a new mission: Helping scientists like herself get elected in the age of fake news and rampant denialism. Naughton founded  the Pi-inspired group 314 Action and it is starting to pay dividends, writes Mother Jones’ Tim Murphy:

The candidates also include a volcanologist who’s worried that her favorite research spot will be opened up for development; an aerospace engineer who’s running against the climate-denying head of the House Science Committee; a pediatrician who spends part of the year treating leprosy patients in Vietnam; and a physicist who worries what budget cuts would mean to the federal research facility where she spent her career.

All told, more than a dozen Democratic candidates with science backgrounds have announced their candidacies for Congress or are expected to in the coming months. The boomlet of STEM-based candidates amounts to a minor seismic event in a community where politics and research have traditionally gone together like sodium and water. Trump has been in office just six months, but he’s already done something remarkable—he’s gotten scientists to run for office. […]

“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,” says Naughton. “The way we push back against that is to hold a seat at the table.”

Amen, Sister. When we’ve got Republicans like climate denier Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas running the House Science Committee and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, a supposed doctor, repeatedly lying about the fact that people would have lost coverage under Trumpcare, we could use a little science-based realism in Congress.