Why more physicians, scientists plan to run for Congress in 2018

Candidates in Pennsylvania, California and Texas are part of a wave of scientific and medically trained individuals running for office at every level of government to advocate for scientific issues, according to The Washington Post.

Joseph Kopser, a Democrat running for the U.S. House of Representatives Texas-Dist. 21 seat, told The Washington Post he is running for Congress because he feels the current administration has devalued the importance of various scientific issues, and will most likely continue to do so.

"I absolutely feel that science is under attack," Mr. Kopser said. "It's the opposite of when John F. Kennedy said he wanted to get us to the moon in less than 10 years. The way [President Donald] Trump is going, in 10 years, he'll have us back in caves."

The majority of scientific and physician candidates running for office were recruited to become involved in government by 314 Action, a political action committee founded in 2016 to support political candidates with scientific or technical backgrounds, according to the report.

314 Action officials told The Washington Post roughly 7,000 people responded to the organization's call to action, and an estimated 400,000 donors have agreed to support candidates backing science-based policies. The organization is working with 30 candidates nationwide, including Hans Keirstead, PhD, a neuroscientist running in California's 48th District, and Mai Khanh Tran, MD, a physician running for the California Dist. 39 seat. Officials said the organization will back 15 of the candidates it is currently working with.

If elected, Drs. Keirstead and Tran would join the one current Congress member with a PhD in a physical science, Rep. Bill Foster, D-Ill., a physicist, and 14 other representatives with medical degrees. By comparison, more than 200 representatives identify as lawyers, according to the report.

To access The Washington Post report, click here.

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