AAAS to Leaders of Congress: March Is To Applaud the Value of Science

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AAAS CEO Rush Holt tells congressional leaders that the organization’s partnership with the March for Science is intended to highlight the “boundless good” of science. | Neil Orman/AAAS

The American Association for the Advancement of Science underscored in an April 17 letter to House and Senate leaders that its role as a partner in the upcoming March for Science is grounded in a desire to celebrate the contributions of science, not to protest any particular policy prescription or person.

Rush Holt, CEO of AAAS, said in the letter that the participation of the world’s largest general scientific organization in the march is meant “to simply remember what science is, why it is important and how it benefits all.”

The letter was addressed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in advance of the April 22nd event that is slated to unfold in Washington and in more than 500 satellite locations around the world.

“The march is an opportunity for scientists and the science-loving public to tout the importance, value and beauty of science,” Holt wrote. “Recent trends, like efforts to diminish scientific consensus and restrict free movement among the scientific community, have certainly prompted concern among the scientific community.”

He added, “These concerns have compelled the scientific community to reflect on the state of science in our society, and have forced us to face some hard truths – that we cannot simply expect the science to speak for itself. Science needs advocates, it needs communication and it needs action.”

Holt, who represented New Jersey’s 12th congressional district from 1999 to 2015, said he looked forward to working with congressional leaders in the months and years to come and vowed to provide them with “the highest quality scientific information available.”

“AAAS stands behind this movement because of a shared recognition that scientists and engineers offer the public an open pathway to discovery that has deepened human understanding of the world and advanced innovations that have delivered significant economic benefits,” said Holt, appealing to leaders to reflect the value of science in their policymaking.

[Associated image: U.S. Capitol / U.S. Government Works]