Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Scientists on Both Sides of the Aisle

Today’s advocate profile is a two-for-one. In the interest of fair play I wanted to profile both a Republican and a Democrat in Congress who, in their former lives, were scientists. What better example of a scientist advocate than one currently serving on Capitol Hill?

Representative Vernon Ehlers [R-MI]
Representing Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District, Rep. Ehlers is a physicist. Rep. Ehlers has served in Congress since 1993, and before that spent 11 years in the Michigan legislature.

Rep. Ehlers received a PhD in physics from UC Berkeley in 1960. He moved back to Michigan and taught at Calvin College, in Grand Rapids, eventually acting as chairman of the physics department. During that time Rep. Ehlers also served as a volunteer science advisor to then-Congressman Gerald Ford! Today Rep. Ehlers puts his scientific background to work on the Science and Technology Committee and in the STEM Ed Caucus.

Representative Rush Holt [D-NJ]
Representing New Jersey’s 12th Congressional District, Rep. Holt is a physicist as well. He has served in Congress since 1999. Some of his supporters during the 2008 re-election campaign sported bumper stickers boasting “My Congressman IS a rocket scientist!”

Rep. Holt’s parents were both public servants, and he was a Congressional Science Fellow and a nuclear weapons expert at the U.S. State Department before serving as Congressman. He uses his background in physics and his experience at the State Department as chairman of the Select Intelligence Oversight Panel on the Intelligence Committee.

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