- What should be the role of science and scientists in government policy- and decision-making?
Scientists and other non-political experts should be an integral part of government policy-making, and their findings should not be interfered with or manipulated to suit political aims. As a member of Congress, I’ve submitted and passed countless pieces of legislation to ensure scientific studies take place so they can underpin later legislation.
- What have you learned from the coronavirus pandemic? What policy changes should be made to both prevent and respond to future pandemics in a more effective way?
More than ever, COVID has underlined that healthcare is a human right. As a co-sponsor on Medicare for All and a long-time proponent of protecting and strengthening the ACA, I am continuing to advocate for both those causes. But we must go beyond that. We must strengthen and streamline national reporting guidelines, and ensure that they cannot be manipulated for political aims. We must also strengthen our domestic supply chains when it comes to medical supplies, which would be affected by my Made In America Act. Finally, as a member of the COVID Oversight committee, I’ve been working to ensure that the process of discovering a safe & effective COVID vaccine (which, when found, should be made freely available to all) is not affected by political motivations.
CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT
- What are your policy priorities to address the ongoing climate crisis? How would these policies impact other systems, if any (e.g. economy, agriculture, education)?
As an original co-sponsor of the Green New Deal, I am deeply committed to finding policy
solutions to the climate crisis. A commitment to enacting a Green New Deal would touch every part of American society. It would create good jobs through improving and greening our infrastructure, it would promote housing justice and green housing through ideas like the Green New Deal for Public Housing (which I am a co-sponsor of). It would also aggressively pursue scientific research in green energy, green agriculture, and more.
- Do you support the Green New Deal? Why or why not? If you support transitioning our economy away from fossil fuel dependence, how will you support workers who will need to transition to different industries?
As an original co-sponsor of the Green New Deal, I know that its passage is critical to rebuilding our economy, and that it will not be possible to recognize the GND’s goals without retraining and employment transitions. We must not just provide funding for training, but work with employers to create internships and apprenticeships both for those entering the workforce as well as those transitioning away from previous, fossil-fuel-related work.
- What should our education system, from K-12 to higher ed, be doing to prepare students to be adaptable critical thinkers, especially considering the challenges of climate change, misinformation, and work at the human-technology frontier?
As a former teacher, I know all-to-well the importance of helping students learn how to think on their own. Teaching materials should be based on scientific data, and avoid lifting up anti-science ideas. We must teach students to verify information, to seek out reliable sources, and to recognize when information is unreliable; at the same time, we must hold companies accountable when they spread dangerous disinformation, particularly online. I’ve introduced bills like the Women and Minorities in STEM Booster Act to help encourage underrepresented groups to enter these fields, and will continue to pursue this avenue as well.
FOOD & AGRICULTURE
- To what extent are you concerned about the threat of climate change in disrupting agriculture in New York State in the coming decades? What, if any, policy changes should be made to ensure our farms are resilient?
- Restrictions and suspensions of new work visas, especially for high-skilled workers in science and technology fields, could affect scientific progress and innovation. Do you agree with these restrictions? Why or why not?
I disagree with these restrictions. They are racist, discriminatory, anti-science and
anti-American. We should be allowing these workers, who want to come and make a better life for themselves and their families while pursuing goals in science and technology that will help strengthen our economy, security and public health.
- What is your position on the 1996 Dickey Amendment? What role should the federal government take in addressing issues relating to gun violence?
We must overturn the Dickey Amendment – and I am proud that last year, I was able to work with my Senate colleague Ed Markey to deliver $25 million to the NIH and CDC to study gun violence like the public health crisis it is. As vice chair of the Joint Economic Committee, I’ve also worked to expose the public to scientific findings around the real costs of gun violence to our economy (although those costs pale in comparison to the losses suffered by those who fall victim to gun violence). I support common-sense gun safety measures like closing the boyfriend loophole and requiring universal background checks, and have offered a number of gun safety bills to help make this happen, including anti-gun-trafficking bills, bills to require gun owners buy insurance for their firearms, and more.