Last April I had the honor of attending a Biological and Ecological Sciences Coalition Congressional Visits Day in our nation’s capitol. The event was organized by the American Institute of Biological Sciences and the goal was to inform members of Congress and their staff about the importance of federal support for biological research. I was grouped with other Massachusetts-based scientists during this endeavor and throughout the day we visited eight Senate/House offices in order to stump for our cause. If you want to read about the full experience, please visit the Early Career Ecologists blog, where BU graduate student Caitlin McDonough MacKenzie eloquently details the events of the day.
Over the summer, participants of the BESC national event were invited to take part in local visits within their home districts. As a result, a tour of the MSC was scheduled with Massachusetts State Senator, Thomas McGee. On the morning of October 7th, Dr. Geoff Trussell (Director of the MSC) led the meeting while Tim Leshan (Northeastern’s VP for Government Relations) and I accompanied him, answering the Senator’s questions regarding Northeastern’s unique approach to community outreach and environmental research.
Overall, the visit was a great success. We were able to open up a dialogue with an influential and supportive member of our community. I know I speak for all of us at the MSC when I say that we are extremely grateful to lawmakers, like Senator McGee, who are willing to commit their time and share in our efforts to stand up for the environment, education, and research as we face the challenges of 21st century coastal living.
Ten days after our tour, on October 17th, Senator McGee was elected Chairman of the Massachusetts Democratic Party by a unanimous vote.