January was a series of significant Wednesdays.
Its hard to write anything else without mentioning that in less than 30 days we had an armed insurrection at the US Capitol, another impeachment, and the swearing in of a new administration. And we thought 2020 was a lot…
But, now, after all that and all the voting we did (am I the only one still getting post cards reminding me to vote on Jan 5th?) – it’s time to get to work.
We’ve got multiple crises to work on: a pandemic, a recession (bringing food insecurity, education inequality, healthcare inequality, etc), climate change, extremist white-nationalism, and racial injustice. The good news is that science has been working on answers to these things for years. We’ve got this.
We welcome the fact that with a recent executive order the Office of Science and Technology Policy is now a cabinet-level position. This gives science a seat at the table.
Science will always be at the forefront of my administration — and these world-renowned scientists will ensure everything we do is grounded in science, facts, and the truth.President Biden
We also welcome another executive order focusing on Restoring Trust in Government Through Scientific Integrity and Evidence-Based Policymaking. Restoring trust in science is one of the reasons Science for Georgia was founded.
Scientific and technological information, data, and evidence are central to the development and iterative improvement of sound policies, and to the delivery of equitable programs, across every area of government. Scientific findings should never be distorted or influenced by political considerations.Memorandum on Restoring Trust in Government Through Scientific Integrity and Evidence-Based Policymaking
These executive orders are a starting point, not an ending. We cannot sit back and assume that “they” will handle this. As scientists and friends of science we are obligated to remain engaged and provide the science, facts, and truth. We must provide this information in a clear and concise manner that enables decision making. We have learned how to speak-up, and now that we have a seat at the table, we cannot go silent.
Typically, we only have one ask per month – but now we’ve got two.
Step 1: Fill out our State of Science in Georgia Survey – and give voice to our collective hopes, dreams, wants, and needs. We voted for our legislators, now tell them what we think.
Step 2: People are going hungry in Georgia because of paperwork delays.
Georgia’s budget was severely cut last year because of shortfalls caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Georgia’s new budget would maintain these cuts – underfunding vital state agencies in education and health. These are the very agencies needed to process applications for food stamps and unemployment aid, and support reopening of schools. For example, in 2020 Georgia made a $2.2M reduction in DFCS (Division of Family and Children Services), which removed over 100 caseworkers, the very people who process the applications for food stamps and other services.
Yes, Georgia has a tremendous budget shortfall, but also has a large rainy-day fund of monetary reserves. Gov Kemp refuses utilize this fund, and only address the shortfall via cuts.
In a pandemic that stresses the system in many different ways, we need to support those most affected. The federal government is releasing aid money, but people cannot get to it because no one can process their paperwork.
Use this link to write the Governor and your Legislator and urge them to use the rainy-day fund to reverse the cuts so people can eat.