When politicians are asked tough questions about policies that defy science, they’ll sometimes say, “Hey, I’m not a scientist.”
In fact, there is only one Ph.D. scientist among the 535 members of Congress: Bill Foster, who represents Illinois’ 11th District. The medical professions are a bit better represented, with three nurses and 15 doctors in Congress.
But 13 new political candidates are attempting to bolster the science credentials on Capitol Hill in the 2018 midterm elections. A crop of scientists are running for office across the country, in states from South Carolina to Nevada and California, hoping voters will pick them on Tuesday.
These candidates have the support of a nonprofit political-action committee called 314 Action, which started in 2016 and is dedicated to recruiting, training, and funding scientists and healthcare workers who want to run for political office.
“Scientists are essentially problem-solvers,” Shaughnessy Naughton, president of 314 Action, told Business Insider. “Right now, there are more talk radio show hosts in Congress than there are chemists and physicists.”
Since Congress wrestles with complex issues like climate change, cybersecurity, and how to provide fairer, cheaper healthcare, Naughton thinks we should put more scientists into the decision-making body.
“Who better to be tackling these issues than scientists?” she said.
Here’s what to know about the two Senate and 11 House hopefuls who are running for office.