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Science and Policy Leaders Detail a Vision for 2009 (and Beyond) at AAAS Forum
Former U.S. Rep. John E. Porter, a forceful science and medical research advocate during 21 years in the House, urged scientists and allies to channel their frustration into constructive political engagement that will help the next president deal with critical issues that have languished in recent years.
Speaking during a plenary session of the AAAS Forum on Science and Technology Policy, Porter offered a cautiously optimistic assessment, saying that all three of the major party candidates still in the race favor stem cell research and evidence-based decision-making, and oppose teaching religious ideas in public school science classrooms.
But Porter, a moderate Republican and chairman of the Research!America health research advocacy group, offered a bluntly critical analysis of U.S. science policy under President George W. Bush, and suggested that much work will need to be done to make up for Washington's inaction on issues such as innovation and climate change.
Porter's speech embodied a view prevalent at the Forum: While U.S. policy on innovation, climate change, stem cell research, energy, and other critical issues has been characterized by political obstruction and inertia, the upcoming presidential election presents the science and engineering community—and the nation—an opportunity to help navigate a new course.
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