Scientist-backed PAC endorses Dana Rohrabacher’s challenger – Salon

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Jun 26 2017

Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California is a well-known science denier, particularly when it comes to the issue of man-made climate change. In response,314 Action, a new PAC that exists to help elect scientists to public office, is officially endorsing a Democratic rival to opposeRohrabacher in his 2018 reelection campaign.

Dr. Hans Keirstead is aPhD neuroscientist, cancer doctor and former UC Irvine School of Medicine professor, as well as the first non-incumbent endorsement that 314 Action has made.

Scientists are trained to follow the facts no matter where they lead, Keirstead toldSalon through email. Many times, a hypothesis does not get borne out by the facts. Science isnt about opinions or how you feel. Its about the pursuit of truth, and as a scientist, I have learned the value of real evidence and data. I believe my career developing successful, breakthrough cancer treatments through stem cell research will speak to people.

Keirsteads work on stem cell research has helped with treatment of various cancers, multiple sclerosis, and Lou Gehrigs disease, among other medical conditions.

Rohrabacher claims that he loves science,a fact that Keirstead insists is only the first step toward actually using science in a responsible way as a policymaker.

Understanding how science effects every day Americans lives? Thats where a policy maker who understands science makes their impact, Keirstead explained. I have seen firsthand how it can save lives by investing in medical research that leads to curing cancer or changing lives by providing jobs and infrastructure to a community like Orange County.

TheTrump administrations budget is a war on facts that the scientific community knows all about, saidShaughnessy Naughton, a chemist who founded 314 Action.

Whether its his massive cuts to research budgets, his views on climate change, vaccines, the decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement, or countless others, science is under attack right now. While we dont have a set criteria of policies for candidates who come to us, support for research funding and a recognition of the urgency with which we need to act on combating climate change.

Compare that with what is happening in Washington today with Trumps budget proposal,Keirstead added. They are slashing funding for the National Institute of Health and doubling user fees on small businesses. That has a direct effect on the work I and many in the medical field do. I guarantee you that if our research labs fees were doubled, my cancer treatment would not have gone to clinical trials. We need representatives who understand the direct consequences of their proposals and, sadly, Im not convinced many do.

It remains to be seen whether Naughton and Keirsteads support for reason can triumph not only in the laboratory, but in voting booths as well.

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Scientist-backed PAC endorses Dana Rohrabacher's challenger - Salon

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