USA: Scientists Surface In Politics With Remarkable Poll Victories, Backed By This Unique Campaign

Image Credits: 314 Action

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It is somewhat of an irony that science has taken a backseat in the mainstream discourse of USA. A major reason behind this is the scientific ignorance of the elected leaders currently in power. They have often grabbed headlines for their blatant denial of critical issues like climate change. Their policies, which violate environmental laws; their irrelevant remarks on scientific matters and lack of patronage for scientific advancement, continue to shudder the very foundation of science in the country.

At the same time, more and more personalities from the scientific community, including researchers, doctors, engineers, teachers have shown a keen interest in joining the political scene in the past few years. But in most cases, their political ambitions are curtailed in the bud due to lack of funds for effective campaigning. That is where 314 Action Fund comes to the rescue. The fund backs electoral candidates from the STEM community (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and proactively runs electoral campaigns for them. In fact, in 2018, eight of their candidates have secured seats in the US Congress, sprouting hopes of encouraging scientific pursuits at the government level. 

How did 314 Action Fund come into being

Founder Shaughnessy Naughton is a chemist who decided to pursue politics with the sole aim to secure the future of science in the United States. In 2014, she stood for Congress in Pennsylvania but with no experience of campaign other than knocking on people’s doors, Naughton was unsuccessful. However, the unfailing support from the scientific community made her realise how much the country needed a scientific perspective in politics.

With this aim in mind, she started the 314 Action in 2016 and has successfully placed several STEM candidates in the Congress so far. The curious name for the organisation comes from the value of Pi (3.14) which is the most widely used mathematical ratio. 

The biggest victory for 314 Action

Perhaps the greatest victory for science in the USA in recent times happened this year with as many as eight members of the scientific community getting elected with appreciable winning margins, including five women. Needless to say, all of them were bolstered by 314 Action.

Interestingly, aside from individual priority areas, all of these candidates have affordable healthcare and environmental-friendly laws on top of their agenda. 

Know the winners

Computer scientist Jacky Rosen from Nevada was elected to the US Senate, fighting against Dean Heller who vehemently denies climate change. Rosen, who also has a degree in psychology, champions the use of renewable energy alongside working on pro-education initiatives like reducing the interest on student loans. With regards to gun violence, she wishes to enforce a ban on assault rifles.

Stanford engineer Chrissy Houlahan, also an Air Force veteran, emerged with the most remarkable win bagging 58.8% votes in Pennsylvania’s 6th district, reported Quartz. Her prime focus happens to be the expansion of affordable healthcare policies.

In Illinois’ 14th district, 32-year-old nurse Lauren Underwood overthrew Randy Hultgren, infamous for his support towards withdrawing from the Paris Climate Deal and repealing of the Affordable Care Act. The young and new politician is a noted advocate of affordable healthcare, reproductive rights for women and renewable energy.

Kim Schrier, a paediatrician with an additional astrophysics degree, won in Washington’s 8th district. Her sole objective behind running for the seat was a 2017 bill which deprived a major percentage of the citizens of accessible healthcare, which she plans to revoke at the earliest.

314 Action

Former nuclear engineer and Navy commander Elaine Luria also prioritises healthcare, education, gun reforms, addressing gender inequality and the issue of equal pay. She emerged victorious in Virginia.

In South Carolina, winner Joe Cunningham is an environmental lawyer and erstwhile ocean engineer. Renewable energy projects, ban on offshore drilling and of course, climate change is marked in red letters in his to-do list.

Engineer Sean Casten, the co-founder of Recycled Energy Development, defeated Peter Roskam, who grabbed a lot of limelight for referring to climate science as “junk science”. Hopefully, Sean delivers his proposals about clean energy policies.

Dentist Jeff Van Drew won in New Jersey with promises on higher education, equal pay for women and affordable healthcare. 

A much-needed change in power

314 Action runs fundraising initiatives for their candidates and their effective campaigns focused on practical problems rather than irrational promises have yielded unexpected results. It positively indicates that their campaigns have made many Americans aware of the looming socio-environmental issues. 

Also Read: With Three Minutes Response Time, The Fastest Emergency Medical Service In The World Is A Non-Profit From Israel

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1,80,000 meals served
Emergency funds sent to 300 families
It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote

Goonj Is Working With 1000’s Of Volunteers & Partner NGOs To Provide Covid-19 Relief In 18 States

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With the extension of the lockdown the crisis of migrant labourers and daily wagers has just grown bigger due to uncertainty and fear of future. In the migrant colonies, slums and for people in the villages hunger and desperation is building up day by day. This is high time we step up our efforts to support our people who are in dire need of food and hygiene essentials to survive the pandemic, Covid-19.

After the India-wide lockdown, a lot of jobless migrant workers are stuck in cities with hardly any resources while many started retreating back to their villages. With the loss of livelihoods, a large number of them are now struggling to support their families.

Goonj activated its pan India teams and a pan India network of partner organizations and volunteers in urban and rural India. This network, built over the last two decades, helps them learn from the ground, reach material quickly and review and adapt strategy periodically. Intensifying this network has helped Goonj reach and start work across 17produced states/UT in the last three weeks.
Support the cause you care for. Browse All CampaignsBrowse all campaigns
1,80,000 meals served
Emergency funds sent to 300 families

Goonj’s focus: 

Majority of the Covid-19 relief work by non profits right now is in the metros and cities but Goonj is the only non profit that is also simultaneously focusing on the people in the villages and the ones stuck on highways or somewhere.

Goonj is targeting daily wagers, migrants and other vulnerable groups, who even traditionally are left out like the disabled, sex workers, LGBTQ community.

“COVID-19 is a crisis, yes…But, it’s also an opportunity for us to build the society anew. Not ‘for’ the people…but, ‘with’ the people. And in the process, we will build ourselves too.” – Anshu Gupta, Founder-Director, Goonj.

Direct Monetary and Material Transfer

Wherever Goonj got the permission to open their centres for packing and disbursement of relief material kits, they are creating a kit consisting of 20-30 kgs material including dry rations, masks, sanitary pads and other hygiene material and reaching them to people, as per needs and as per regulations with all safety precautions. This kit will help a family survive for 30 days.

Information till 10th April 2020:

  • Distributed 15,100 ration kits reaching thousands of people
  • Reached 17,700 families
  • Supporting 12 community kitchen across India with 16,600kgs of ration
  • 77,800 food packets provided to migrant laborers and daily wagers walking on the roads across the country.
  • Provided direct financial support to 32 organisations
  • Made 42,800 cloth face masks
  • 24,900 cloth sanitary napkins produced
  • Produced 1500 litres of organic sanitiser

In Goonj’s processing centers its trained team of women are making cloth face masks and cloth sanitary pads (MY-Pads), keeping all the precautions and with the permission and cooperation of the local authorities.

In this lock-down phase if you are facing any difficulty getting sanitary pads or you are running out of stock, here’s a detailed but very simple process of making Cloth Pads at home created by Goonj. “This is how we make Goonj MY Pads.” This is how our mothers and grandmothers turned their spare cloth into pads.

This disaster, unlike any other, is unprecedented in its scale and impact and that’s why we all must do our bit with Goonj to continue its relief work for millions of people in this still unfolding long-tailed disaster.

The need is huge.. We are there.. Need You too !!

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It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote
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