In DepthU.S. ELECTIONS

Vote heralds fresh start for science panel

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Science  16 Nov 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6416, pp. 731-732
DOI: 10.1126/science.362.6416.731

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Summary

For many scientists, the good news from last week's divisive midterm U.S. elections is that late-night entertainers may stop making the science committee the butt of jokes based on cringe-inducing comments from Republican legislators. Thanks to a Democratic takeover of the House of Representatives, Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D–TX) is in line to replace the retiring Representative Lamar Smith (R–TX) as chair of the panel. And she has promised to "restore the credibility" of a committee that, for 6 years, has pursued an overtly partisan agenda that included challenging climate science and opposing environmental regulation. But that change in tone must be tempered by some sobering electoral realities. By Science's count, just seven of an initial pool of 49 House candidates who touted their scientific or technical training on the campaign trail won their races.