Tell your senators to vote NO on Clovis.


In the most recent episode of under-qualified individuals in 45’s administration proposing more unsuitable folks join their ranks, Trump announced his nomination of Sam Clovis to serve in the top scientific post of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Here’s the catch: Clovis has no background in science or agricultural economics or research -- the former talk-show host has a doctorate in public administration and is a skeptic of climate scientists’ consensus that climate change is very likely caused by human activity. Clovis’ nomination highlights the current administration’s lack of science literacy and dangerous politicization of science policy. Today’s #DailyRevolution is to call your senators and urge them to vote NO on Clovis’ waiver and nomination to become the USDA’s chief scientist.

We’ve already seen clear signs of the Trump administration’s rejection of science-based logic and policy-making: Their statements and actions on climate change, evolution, vaccines, biological anthropology, and drilling/mining/logging on federal lands with fragile ecosystems abound. Furthermore, they threaten the integrity of federal research and the work of non-government scientists by limiting easy public access to and funding for government-produced scientific reports on issues like climate change, ocean temperatures, biodiversity, greenhouse gas emissions, etc.

Now they have non-scientist Clovis on deck for the position of USDA’s chief scientist. If Clovis is elected for this position, part of his job will be to oversee the Department’s $3 billion research budget, thereby holding the reins on funding for research to help farmer and rancher adaptation to climate change, among other projects. In an interview during his 2014 Senate candidacy, Clovis shared his disagreement with 97% of climate scientists regarding the human impact on climate change: "I have looked at the science and I have enough of a science background to know when I'm being boofed. And a lot of what we see is junk science."

Additionally, Clovis challenged whether federally subsidized crop insurance (which is not a program he would oversee) was desired by or useful to farmers, citing anecdotally that most of the Iowa farmers he spoke to “would just as soon have the government out of their lives and that includes the insurance programs.” To the contrary, many farmers rely on such insurance. He also ran a blog with racially charged posts, asserted that homosexuality is a choice and related it with pedophilia, and stoked the Obama birther conspiracy. He served as Trump’s campaign manager in Iowa, so making decisions based on loyalties to his conservative ideology or the president is a point of deep consternation for many, including the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, the Senate agriculture committee’s top Democrat, has noted a legal provision that requires chief scientist nominees be selected from "among distinguished scientists with specialized training or significant experience in agricultural research, education or economics." For this reason, Clovis might need a waiver to assume the position; ordinarily, a simple majority leads to confirmation, but if he needs the waiver, he would need 60 votes (a higher threshold) from the full Senate. Either way, senators need to know if their constituents believe he is unfit for the job.

The Senate agriculture committee’s confirmation hearing for Clovis has yet to be scheduled, but our senators need to know now where we stand. Dial our shortcut number: 202-858-ANYR (2697). Enter your zip code and our service will identify your representatives and connect you directly to their D.C. offices. You won’t get a busy signal, or have to keep calling back.

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