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McCollum Addresses March for Science Minnesota

April 24, 2017
Press Release

Congresswoman Betty McCollum (DFL-Minn.) joined a crowd estimated in the tens of thousands at the March for Science Minnesota in St. Paul on Saturday, April 22. The non-partisan March for Science "focused on mobilizing against the unprecedented efforts to cut support of science, innovation, evidence-based policy making, and the efforts to censor fact in favor of opinion through gag-orders and media blackouts."

After joining marchers, Congresswoman McCollum delivered the final remarks at the March for Science Minnesota. The full text of Congresswoman McCollum's remarks is below:

Happy Earth Day everyone! Thank you citizens! Thank you scientists! Thank you citizen scientists! 

Today is about action to protect science! Today is about a movement to promote science! Today is about standing united to confront a destructive political agenda that promotes ignorance, denial, and dangerous “alternative facts,” otherwise known as lies! 

Let me put forward a hypothesis:  if scientists are not politically active and engaged it is highly likely that the funding of scientific research will be slashed, scientists will be gagged or blacklisted, and, fake news and lies will trump the pursuit evidence based discovery. 

You are citizens.  You are scientists. You are leaders! We need you active, engaged and mobilized. Elected officials, business leaders, and academic leaders must be held accountable. We need leaders who will defend scientific integrity and support advancing science.  That is why we are marching today. 

Scientists all across America today, generations of American scientists before you, and the children who will be the scientists of tomorrow – this continuum of commitment, passion, and discovery are essential to our democracy, to our economy, and to making this world safer, healthier, and more prosperous for billions of people.  

Yet, we all know that science is under attack.  And, we must fight back!

So let me make a few evidence based political statements to challenge the current occupant of the White House:  Climate change is real! Vaccines save lives!  And, President Obama was born in the United States! 

We cannot allow the deniers, liars, or this White House to undermine the pursuit of knowledge through scientific discovery. This threat starts with President Trump proposing a 2018 budget with deep, harmful, and misguided cuts to scientific research at the NIH, NOAA, USGS, CDC, NASA, and DOE.  I call this an assault on American leadership. 

Friends, this is a real fight and Congress needs to hear your voices! 

As a Member of Congress and a policy-maker, I want the best science, the best information, and I want to listen and learn from the women and men who are asking the tough questions, seeking discovery, and making the breakthroughs. 

I want scientists from other parts of the world coming to the United States to study at our universities, to share research, and expand knowledge.  That includes welcoming Muslim scientists to America, not banning them! 

Friends, we must stand together to protect our planet, improve human health, innovate to grow our economy, and help feed 7 billion people. 

Science is the process by which humankind advances. Scientific knowledge is the gift we give the next generation and it must be the foundation of our children’s education. 

But it is scientists as citizens – active, engaged and passionate citizens – who must confront the ignorance and arrogance of the politicians and the powerful who are attacking science for power and profit. This is the fight!  

We are marching to protect science and we are lobbying to invest in science. We need your voices here at the State Capitol, in the halls of the U.S. Capitol, and across this land.  Thank you!