With a new year comes a fresh slate of leaders who represent the scientific interests of the country both in Congress and in the White House. With 2019 set to be an interesting year with topics on Climate Change, human health, and other topics, it is important to know who will be playing major roles in how the U.S. government decides upon which scientific avenues to explore. A glimpse into each of the key players will help to know who we, as a science community, can reach out to with comments and concerns. In the Senate, we have new Chairman Senator Roger Wicker and Ranking Member Senator Maria Cantwell. In the House, the House Science Committee Chairwoman is Representative Eddie Bernie Johnson. In the White House, we have the newly confirmed Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier as the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Let us take a closer look at each of these scientific leaders:
Senator Roger Wicker is a Senator from Mississippi. Before he was chairman of the Senate Committee of Commerce, Science, and Transportation, he served as the Chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet. He is the sponsor of the 2016 EUREKA Act that enables competitions for discovering novel breakthroughs in disease prevention.
Senator Maria Cantwell is a Senator from the State of Washington and the Ranking member on the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation committee. Senator Cantwell has been a big proponent of energy initiatives and took the charge to protect consumers during the 2000 Western Energy Crisis.
Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson is a Representative from Texas 30th District. Representative Johnson was the ranking member on the House Science, Space, and Technology committee. In addition, she also sponsored the Combating Sexual Harassment in Science Act of 2018, which directs the government to research the causes of sexual harassment in the STEM workforce.
Throughout his career, Dr. Droegemeier has played a very active role in federal scientific research, both as a researcher and as a member of the National Science Board. His background is in Meteorology, earning his Bachelors from the University of Oklahoma, and his Master’s and PhD from the University of Illinois. He has served on numerous weather advisory research programs and lead programs at the Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms. Twice, he was appointed to the National Science Board, by President’s George W. Bush and Barack Obama.