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This article is from the In-Depth Report Election 2012: Grading Obama and Romney on Science

Bring It: A Call for Candidates to Debate Science Policy

Scientists and concerned citizens ask the 2012 presidential candidates and leaders in Congress to discuss science and technology



League of Women Voters Election 2012 button used under Creative Commons license BY 2.0.

Innovation, economic growth and climate change are just a few of the challenges and opportunities that face the U.S. They are also firmly linked to science. For example, research findings provide a basis for understanding how to respond to climate change, and technological progress fuels economic growth. Science is a vital to many government policies, and thus Scientific American has joined a swelling chorus of voices and partnered with ScienceDebate.org, a grassroots organization. We call for the two main presidential candidates—Pres. Barack Obama and former Gov. Mitt Romney to address science and technology policy during the 2012 campaign.

ScienceDebate.org sent 14 questions to the presidential candidates in late July and awaits their responses. In addition, we've posed eight of the 14 questions to influential members of Congress, chosen because they lead their parties or congressional committees in charge of science and technology-related policy.

The Scientific American editors will publish and grade the presidential candidates' responses in the magazine's November issue. Congress's replies will be available online, where readers are welcome to challenge our grade and offer their own thoughts.

For a detailed look at each of the questions, see our ongoing series listed below and weigh in with your comments. A new question will appear weekly on Fridays. The individual posts follow (list will be updated):

What Do Obama and Romney Know about Science? And Why It Matters  By Christine Gorman, July 19, 2012

Advances in Science Drive Economic Growth By Christine Gorman, July 26, 2012

Senators Fiddle While Deep Ocean Temperatures Rise By Christine Gorman, August 3, 2012

Who Should Fund Scientific Research? How Much? By Christine Gorman, August 10, 2012

Will the Candidates Tell Us about Their Policies on Pandemics and Biosecurity? By Marissa Fessenden, August 17, 2012

Will the U.S. Remain a Leader in a Science- and Technology-Driven Economy? By Marissa Fessenden, August 24, 2012

Can the U.S. Achieve Energy Independence by 2020 By Christine Gorman, August 31, 2012

Food Safety: Romney and Obama Focus on Different Solutions By Christine Gorman, September 7, 2012

Voters Should Pay More Attention to Freshwater Issues By Christine Gorman, September 14, 2012

How Would Fish Vote in the 2012 Election? By Christine Gorman, September 28, 2012

The 32 Congressional leaders we've contacted are listed below, along with their committee or subcommittee assignments and ranks. The elected officials' names link to contact forms on their respective Web sites. We urge residents of the states and districts they serve to e-mail the officials with a request to answer the eight questions. To figure out who your representatives are, visit this site.

Congressional leaders:

Senate

Lamar Alexander: Tennessee (R)—ranking member, Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development

Barbara Boxer: California (D)—chair, Committee on Environment and Public Works

Jim DeMint: South Carolina (R)—member, Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation (Ranking Member Kay Bailey Hutchinson is retiring)

Michael Enzi: Wyoming (R)—ranking member, Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions

Dianne Feinstein: California (D)—chair, Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development

Tom Harkin: Iowa (D)—chair, Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions

James Inhofe: Oklahoma (R)—ranking member, Committee on Environment and Public Works

Mitch McConnell: Kentucky (R)—Senate minority leader

Patty Murray: Washington State (D)—member, Committee on the Budget (Chairman Kent Conrad is retiring)

Lisa Murkowski: Alaska (R)—ranking member, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources

Harry Reid: Nevada (D)—Senate majority leader

Pat Roberts: Kansas (R)—ranking member, Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry

Jay Rockefeller: West Virginia (D)—chair, Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation

Jeff Sessions: Alabama (R)—ranking member, Committee on the Budget

Debbie Stabenow: Michigan (D)—chair, Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry

Ron Wyden: Oregon (D)—member, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (Chairman Jeff Bingaman is retiring)

 

House of Representatives

Timothy Bishop: New York State–1 (D)—ranking member, Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment

John Boehner: Ohio–8 (R)—speaker of the House

Scott Garrett: New Jersey–5 (R)—vice chair, Committee on the Budget (Chair Paul Ryan is the Republican vice presidential candidate)

Bob Gibbs: Ohio–18 (R)—chair, Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment

Ralph Hall: Texas–4 (R)—chair, Committee on Science, Space and Technology

Doc Hastings: Washington State–4 (R)—chair, Committee on Natural Resources

Eddie Bernice Johnson: Texas–30 (D)—ranking member, Committee on Science, Space and Technology

Frank Lucas: Oklahoma–3 (R)—chair, Committee on Agriculture; member of Committee on Science, Space and Technology

Edward J. Markey: Massachusetts–7 (D)—ranking member, Committee on Natural Resources

John Mica: Florida–7 (R)—chair, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure

Nancy Pelosi: California–8 (D)—House minority leader

Collin Peterson: Minnesota–7 (D)—ranking member, Committee on Agriculture

Nick Rahall: West Virginia–3 (D)—ranking member, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure

Fred Upton: Michigan–6 (R)—chair, Committee on Energy and Commerce

Chris Van Hollen: Maryland–8 (D)—ranking member, Committee on the Budget

Henry Waxman: California–30 (D)—ranking member, Committee on Energy and Commerce

 

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