ScienceDebate Asks WA State Gubernatorial Candidates to Answer Science Policy Questions

Posted: September 27, 2012 in Events, Policy

ScienceDebate, in collaboration with Northwest Science Writers Association and Science Online Seattle, announces a new initiative  that asks the candidates for Washington State Governor to answer to six pressing science policy questions.

Will they answer? If they answer, will their responses contain actual substance or just be mere reiterations of their established campaign talking points?

ScienceDebate is a grassroots, citizens initiative that started out with the goal of getting the candidates for US president to debate science policy issues. They have partnered with AAAS and Scientific American, among other national organizations, and have the support of thousands of scientists across the country. Instead of agreeing to a debate, the presidential candidates recently answered a list of the 14 “most important science questions facing the nation.” See my take on their answers here.

ScienceDebate is now asking gubernatorial candidates Jay Inslee and Rob McKenna to answer six of the 14 questions posed to the presidential candidates. Answers are due on October 18th. Please consider filling out this short poll meant to gauge peoples’ interest in hearing the gubernatorial candidates stance on these important science policy issues.

The questions are as follows:

1. Innovation and the Economy. Science and technology have been responsible for over half of the growth of the U.S. economy since WWII, when the federal government first prioritized peacetime science mobilization. But several recent reports question America’s continued leadership in these vital areas. What policies will best ensure that Washington State remains a world leader in innovation?
2. Climate Change. The Earth’s climate is changing and there is concern about the potentially adverse effects of these changes on life on the planet. What is your position on cap-and-trade, carbon taxes, and other policies proposed to address global climate change—and what steps can we take to improve our ability to tackle challenges like climate change that cross state and national boundaries?
3. Education. Increasingly, the global economy is driven by science, technology, engineering and math, but a recent comparison of 15-year-olds in 65 countries found that average science scores among U.S. students ranked 23rd, while average U.S. math scores ranked 31st. In your view, why have our students fallen behind over the last three decades, and what role should the Washington State government play to better prepare students of all ages for the science and technology-driven global economy?
4. Ocean Health. Scientists estimate that 75 percent of the world’s fisheries are in serious decline, habitats like coral reefs are threatened, and large areas of ocean and coastlines are polluted. What role should the Washington State government play in protecting the environmental health and economic vitality of the oceans?
5. Vaccination and public health. Vaccination campaigns against preventable diseases such as measles, polio and whooping cough depend on widespread participation to be effective, but in some communities vaccination rates have fallen off sharply. What actions would you support to enforce vaccinations in the interest of public health, and in what circumstances should exemptions be allowed?
6. Science in Public Policy. We live in an era when science and technology affect every aspect of life and society, and so must be included in wellinformed public policy decisions. How will you ensure that policy and regulatory decisions are fully informed by the best available scientific and technical information, and that the public is able to evaluate the basis of these policy decisions?



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