Groups Challenge U.S. Presidential Candidates To Address Issues

Aug. 10, 2016
Over 50 leading American nonpartisan organizations call on presidential candidates to address major issues in science, engineering, technology, health and the environment.

A coalition of 56 leading U.S. nonpartisan organizations, representing more than 10 million scientists and engineers, are calling on U.S. presidential candidates to address a set of 20 major issues in science, engineering, technology, health and the environment, and encouraging journalists and voters to press the candidates on them during the 2016 U.S. presidential election season, according to Some of the organizations reportedly involved include the American Chemistry Society, the American Society for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and National Academy of Sciences.

"Taken collectively, these 20 issues have at least as profound an impact on voters' lives as those more frequently covered by journalists, including candidates' views on economic policy, foreign policy and faith and values," says chair Shawn Otto, organizer of the effort. A 2015 national poll commissioned by and Research!America reportedly revealed that a large majority of Americans (87%) say it is important that candidates for president and Congress have a basic understanding of the science informing public policy issues.

The group crowd sourced and refined hundreds of suggestions, then submitted "the 20 most important, most immediate questions" to the presidential campaigns of Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, "along with an invitation to the candidates to answer them in writing and to discuss them on television," says Otto. The questions and answers will be distributed to the science community, journalists and the general public to help voters make well-informed decisions at the ballot box this November, according to the organization.

"Sometimes politicians think science issues are limited to simply things like the budget for NASA or NIH, and they fail to realize that a president's attitude toward and decisions about science and research affect the public wellbeing, from the growth of our economy, to education, to public health," says Rush Holt, chief executive officer of AAAS and executive publisher of the Science family of journals. "Voters should have a chance to know where the Presidential candidates stand."

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