Named after the famed American inventor, politician, scientist, and statesman Benjamin Franklin, Franklin’s List looks to support and defend science in the public sphere by providing STEM candidates the financial and strategic support they need to run a successful campaign at the local, state, and federal levels. Through this effort, the PAC hopes to increase the scientific literacy of Congress and statehouses across the nation so they can make more informed decisions about STEM-related issues that impact the future of the country.
“Currently, less than two percent of members of Congress have a background in STEM, yet the continuation of important scientific programs and research are dependent on politicians who understand the intricacies of such programs,” Franklin’s List executive director Shame Trimmer said. “Additionally, lawmakers on Capitol Hill and in statehouses across the country can all benefit from working with members who can think analytically, approach issues scientifically, and fully appreciate the positive benefits that come from investing in STEM.”
The concept of Franklin’s List began in 2011 with physicist and current Congressman Bill Foster (D-IL-11), who handed off the effort to run for public office himself. Shane Trimmer will lead the PAC’s efforts in supporting qualified incumbents, as well as recruiting new candidates across the country.
The need for more scientists and other STEM candidates can be seen in the current state of science policy in the United States. Federal government investments in research and development are lower today than they have been in more than half a century. Students in the United States are trailing behind their peers in science and math. The World Economic Forum has ranked the United States 52nd in quality of mathematics and science education. Further, many elected officials deny the scientific consensus on issues such as human evolution and anthropogenic climate change.
“Science and technology play such an integral part in our economy and society that the future of this country is dependent on policymakers who are scientifically literate,” Trimmer said. “Scientists, engineers, and other STEM professionals must become more engaged in the political dialogue for the United States to remain competitive and viable. The candidates that Franklin’s List support will have the expertise and foresight to address critical issues and provide lasting, well-reasoned solutions.“
Franklin’s List is a political action committee (PAC) dedicated to electing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professionals to public office. To make science, technology, research, and development a priority and support and defend science in the public sphere, Franklin’s List supports its endorsing candidates by directly donating to campaigns as well as training candidates and staff to prepare them to run for office. Additionally, Franklin’s List mobilizes voters to come out to the polls on election day through its website, email, and social network.
If you would like more information about this topic or to schedule an interview, please call (202) 803-7119 or email info@franklins-