You may have accidentally missed the latest edition of The Flagpole, a locally-owned newspaper in Athens, Georgia. Just in case, here’s an update.
The headline of interest? Collins, Knox, Meadow win Athens elections. As in John Knox, the University of Georgia geography professor and atmospheric scientist and holder of the 2010 T. Theodore Fujita Research Achievement Award from the National Weather Association (and much other recognition). Congratulations to John and to Clarke County. They’ve made a distinguished selection in their non-partisan Board of Education race. Here’s an excerpt from the Flagpole article:
Paul Broun, the controversial former congressman from Athens, failed in his bid to return to Washington tonight, losing in the Republican primary to incumbent Rep. Doug Collins of Gainesville.
Collins received 61 percent of the vote in the 9th District, which runs from the northern edge of Athens through the Northeast Georgia mountains. Broun won 22 percent in the five-man race.
UGA geography professor John Knox edged out lawyer Kamau Hull in a much-watched nonpartisan Board of Education race. Knox received 431 votes (52 percent) to Hull’s 394 in the Eastside district.
Why make note of this here (full disclosure, I’ve know John and have been a member of his fan club for years)? Well, it’s because the 2016 AMS Summer Policy Colloquium is coming up (June 5-14). This will be the sixteenth cohort. Each year I’m reminded of what then-AMS-executive-director Ron McPherson said to me back in 2000 when he was giving me the marching orders to get things going:
“Brother Hooke, I don’t expect every Colloquium alum to run for Congress and win, but I’m going to be disappointed if someone doesn’t achieve that goal after participating in the program.”
(He might have even put a time-certain on that, saying within twenty years.)
Well, we’ve put 500 people through the program to date, and despite our best efforts they’re amounting to something, working today in every sort of responsible position – except member of Congress.
Non-partisan Board of Education is not membership in Congress, but it is how things get going. Participants in the 2003 AMS Summer Policy Colloquium may recall an after-dinner talk from Vern Ehlers, a university physics professor who was at the time also a Republican member of the U.S. Congress from Michigan. He told the group that he and others had been active in supporting political candidates in Grand Rapids Michigan and one day decided “why spend all that effort to elect someone else when we could elect one of our group?” They put him up for a small local office, which he won. He added (modestly) “that there’s then a tide which carries you forward,” giving the account of how that led to a position in the state legislature, and ultimately the Congress.
Professor Knox’ achievement reminds us that while 500 men and women have participated in the Colloquium, seven billion people haven’t done so and yet are leading happy, productive lives. And it highlights the closing assertion in the previous LOTRW post that in these turbulent times, scientists can and should think creatively about their options for engaging in the policy process.
Inspired and motivated, anyone?
 Ken Carey, Daniel Cohan, Julia Cole, Martha Conklin, Steven Cooper, Heidi Cullen, Aimee Devaris, Joanne Dunnebecke, Pamela Emch, Kristie Franz, Joseph Green, Kenneth Hart, Kevin Kelleher, Robin Kennedy, Chris Keyes, Laura Klein, Genevieve Maricle, Jonathan Martin, Renee McPherson, Eric Miller, Sreela Nandi, Kathleen O’Neil, Jim O’Sullivan, Wendy Parker, Randy Peppler, Paul Pisano, Julie Pullen, Waldo Rodriguez, Jason Samenow, Kevin Schrab, W. Jim Steenburgh, Scott Swerdlin, Suzanne Tegen, Sarah Tessendorf, Jeremy Usher, Kevin Vranes, Ben Webster, Marian Westley, Justin Wettstein, Shelby Winiecki, David Young – a distinguished group!