It’s time to get engaged!

Local Elections Matter

The Collier County school board narrowly approved new science textbooks for their schools 3-2 over protests from citizens about evolution and climate change. The Martin County school board approved science textbook adoptions by the same one-vote margin when citizens there also complained about evolution and climate change.

Either vote could have swung the other way if only one school board member was swayed by the citizens’ complaints.

This is why elections matter. School board candidates are on ballots across the state. For example, in the aforementioned Collier County, three people are running for the District 5 School Board seat. One candidate, Mary Ellen Cash, is on the record with her views on science instructional materials.

In a February 2017 affidavit posted on the Florida Citizens Alliance website, Cash expressed several concerns about CCPS [Collier County Public Schools] operations. Regarding the instructional materials used in the District, she wrote, “I have witnessed students being taught evolution as a fact of creation rather than a theory …. I have witnessed children being taught that Global Warming is a reality…. There is a liberal agenda being taught in our schools…..”

The website Sparker’s Soapbox is keeping track of those Collier County elections. The author there notes:

Four years ago, just 18 percent of eligible voters voted in the August School Board elections. Two Board members were elected with the votes of half of them. One beat her nearest opponent in a three-way race by just over 5100 votes; the other beat his only opponent by just over 4100 votes. In all elections, but especially our School Board primaries, voter turnout determines the outcome.

As I mentioned in my previous post, we need to keep track of candidates’ views not just in Collier County, but across the entire state. It’s just a matter of time until engaged organizations, local and statewide, start issuing voting guides based on candidate surveys. I’m surprised I haven’t seen many yet. But they’re coming. Once you find one, please let us know.

Candidates for Governor and U.S. Congress

Local elected positions are important but so are the elections that send folks to the Governor’s office and the U.S. Congress. With that in mind, Science Debate developed ten questions on science and technology topics and is actively seeking candidates’ responses. They were successful in getting every major presidential candidate since 2008 to participate. Now they’ve expanded their scope to gubernatorial, U.S. House, and U.S. Senate candidates.

Science Debate needs our help. So far, only one Florida candidate has responded: James F. Henry, Democrat, U.S. House District 11. We need a lot more Sunshine State participants and that will only happen if you join the effort to put the questionnaire in front of candidates.

Contact your candidates and encourage them to respond to the 2018 Q&A! We drum up as much interest and support as we can, but what matters most to candidates is what their potential constituents request. You can find your candidates at Ballotopedia.

You assistance is vital to Science Debate’s mission of informing voters candidate’s views on science and technology topics. Will you help?

About Brandon Haught

Communications Director for Florida Citizens for Science.
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