The Union of Concerned Scientists asks some key questions for candidates during the 2020 campaign season. We need to ensure that candidates stand up for science to keep us safe and healthy.
What would you do to ensure that the American people can hear directly from the experts?
At a time when some in our government are speculating wildly about how we can best protect ourselves from COVID-19, it is more important than ever that we hear directly from scientists and not only political appointees and elected officials.
What are your plans to ensure that the federal government recruits and retains the strong scientific workforce needed to help protect our health and safety and the environment?
We can’t solve the many threats to our health, safety, and environment if our federal agencies are not fully staffed with qualified individuals. We need to make sure that the federal government recruits and retains a strong scientific workforce in order to most effectively develop these much-needed solutions.
How would you ensure that decisionmaking about policies for our health, safety, and environment is informed by evidence and free from corruption or excessive influence from special interests?
When scientific advice is censored and data is cut out of policymaking, the result is weaker public protections and less accountability to keep people safe. Attacks on science are often coming from politically powerful industries that want to avoid accountability for the harm they to do to our health and safety. That’s why we need to make sure federal agencies protect their scientists from political interference.
How would you make sure science and voting work for the communities who have historically been left out and left behind?
Political interference in science exacerbates the existing inequities that underserved communities face and opens the door to even greater harm. Decisionmakers need to listen to members of the communities on the front lines of these issues to make sure we’re solving them in a fair, sustainable way.
How will you reverse the erosion of voting rights and protect effective congressional representation to make sure that everyone can participate and have their voice heard?
We need to fix our voting system to represent the people and allow science to better serve the public— when voices are excluded from the process, it becomes easier to make policy decisions uninformed and unaccountable to the people.