Many of the challenges that currently face our nation are issues that have never been perceived as threats, if acknowledged at all, by previous generations. Beyond the common problems facing our world today, Millennial Americans will inherit a crumbling infrastructure, climate change, cyber security threats, income inequality, and many other challenges that were once considered nonexistent in the political realm. With such dissimilar issues to those that once dominated past elections, one must wonder if our current political leaders are qualified to tackle them efficiently.
Lawyers and politicians dominate federal level offices. If we look at the Presidential office alone, the number of lawyers that have ever held office has been 25, followed by 20 State Legislators, and 19 U.S. Representatives. With regards to Congress, the most common prior profession is public service/politics and business. Now, you might be wondering why, if our biggest national threats now include climate change, crumbling infrastructure, etc., are we not encouraging a more diverse candidate pool? The people over at 314 Action might have the solution.
314 Action is a nonprofit established by members of the STEM community; STEM is an acronym for the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. According to their website, the focus of 314 Action is to advocate for a pro-science agenda in Washington. They are firm believers in evidence-based reasoning as a foundation for any legislation that is related to issues in the STEM fields. These include climate change, women rights, infrastructure, gun violence, and many others. Part of their mission is also to combat attacks on basic scientific understanding in the legislative process. Their goals include making science more accessible to the public, provide a voice for the STEM community on social issues, and to elect more leaders to the U.S. Senate, House, State Executive, and Legislative offices who have STEM backgrounds. The 2018 midterms are ways away, but some STEM members have already set their eyes on state congressional seats that are up for special election this year, and according to 314 Action over 3,000 people have reached out to the organization since January.
One of these individuals is systems engineer, Tracy Van Houten. Houten is employed by NASA and is part of a team that is conducting tests for the 2020 Mars rover mission. She plans to run as a Democrat for the empty seat in the 34th Congressional District of California. Several Democrats are contesting the seat, but that hasn't stopped Houten who believes that winning the election will place her in a position to fight back against the anti-science rhetoric rampant in some Washington legislative circles. 314 Action is currently only throwing their support behind Democrats, though they haven't endorsed any candidates. Their reasoning is that, in their view, the Republican Party tends to be anti-science. However, though the organization is currently only supporting Democrats, it has made their training sessions open to anyone. Such as Michael Eisen, who is a professor of genetics, genomics, and development at UC Berkley. Eisen identifies as an independent and is running to challenge Senator Dianne Feinstein in 2018.
A full list of 314 Action's goals, as well as their Mission Statement and other information, can be found on their website, www.314action.org.
Originally from Mexico, Jose grew up in North Texas before moving to Dallas where he works as a behavioral therapist for a nonprofit. Jose has a strong passion for politics, world events, and writing.
COPYRIGHT MILLENNIAL POLITICS LLC 2017