Scientists’ Unique Advantage in Running for Office, with Shaughnessy Naughton – Ep #7


Did you know that there is a distinct and valuable advantage to having more scientists running for office? When scientists step out and contribute to the political process, we get more people making policy decisions that value facts and evidence. During the midterm elections, ten new science-credentialed candidates were elected: one senator and nine members of the House.

The current members of the 115th Congress include one physicist, one microbiologist, and one chemist, as well as eight engineers and one mathematician. The medical professions are slightly better represented, with three nurses and 15 doctors, as well as at least three veterinarians.

Here to discuss the unique advantage of getting scientists elected to public office is Shaughnessy Naughton. Shaughnessy is an entrepreneur with a degree in chemistry and a passion for understanding the role of science in our everyday lives. With a background in research and drug discovery, Shaughnessy decided to get involved in politics because she is concerned about the future of science in the United States.

What You’ll Hear On This Episode of When Science Speaks

  • [0:43] Mark introduces his guest, Shaughnessy Naughton.
  • [3:00] Why we need more politicians who value facts and evidence.
  • [4:45] Is there a typical profile that 314 Action looks for in prospective candidates?
  • [6:30] Should scientists and medical professionals, “Stay in their lane?”
  • [9:00] Shaughnessy talks about her experience running for political office.
  • [10:45] How are scientists uniquely positioned to operate in politics and policy-making?
  • [12:45] What are the future plans for 314 Action?

Connect with Shaughnessy Naughton

We should celebrate scientists running for office

Recently the NRA told medical professionals that they need to, “Stay in their lane” and stop talking about gun control. Should professionals like scientists, engineers, and health care workers sit on the sidelines while policies are created? According to Shaughnessy Naughton, the answer is a resounding, “No!” Shaughnessy is passionate about energizing and mobilizing as many science professionals as possible into the work of politics and public policy, at all levels of government.

Shaughnessy is so passionate about getting these professionals into politics because she recognizes the value of having legislators who champion a robust trust in facts and evidence. One of the main reasons we have failed as a nation to tackle issues such as gun control, health care, and climate change can be traced back to the fact that we fail to heed the findings from scientists and researchers. Learn more about Shaughnessy’s efforts to get more scientists running for office by checking out the resource section at the end of this post.

The unique advantage scientists bring to the table

Let’s face it, right now our politics are personality driven. What if there were a way to get away from the personality and ego of political disagreements and get down to the facts? Shaughnessy Naughton wants to see more scientists running for office to deflate the giant ego trip and get us back to facts and evidence-based policy decisions. While each person brings a different perspective to the table, scientists tend to take a more collaborative approach to making decisions.

Recognizing a severe deficit of scientists involved in politics, Shaughnessy launched her campaign back in 2014. After running a business for over a decade, she stepped up to run for Congress in Pennsylvania’s 8th District. With no prior political experience, other than phoning legislators and knocking on doors for campaigns, she faced an uphill battle. Ultimately, Shaughnessy was not successful, but she did receive a tremendous amount of support from the scientific community. In light of her experience running for office, Shaughnessy founded 314 Action to encourage and unite the scientific community to do more than advocate for science, and to get involved in the political process.

To hear more about Shaughnessy’s valuable work with 314 Action, make sure to listen to this informative episode of When Science Speaks.

Connect With Mark and When Science Speaks

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