Craig Barrett, CEO of Intel Corporation, Alan Leshner, CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Norman Augustine, retired chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin Corporation, extended an invitation on August 16 to President George W. Bush and Senator John F. Kerry to participate in separate "virtual town hall meetings" with scientists and engineers across the nation. The effort was spearheaded by the APS Office of Public Affairs and endorsed by 48 other organizations representing a major fraction of the 3.5 million members of the science and engineering communities working in industry, national laboratories, and universities.
"Economic growth and national security rely heavily on a strong science and engineering workforce," noted APS president Helen Quinn, "but presidential candidates often overlook their votes. This year could be different, especially if both campaigns recognize that these voters could determine the outcome of the presidential election in states such as Arizona, Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin."
The invitation proposed that each candidate deliver remarks lasting about fifteen minutes, setting forth a vision for science and technology in the 21st century. In fitting with our high-tech age, each candidate would have his remarks webcast live to tens of thousands of scientists and engineers throughout the country. A short question and answer period via the Internet would follow. This flexible format would allow each campaign to choose a time and location convenient for its candidate. At press time, neither campaign had made a firm reply to the invitation.
Up-to-date information on the events can be found at www.HiTechTownHall.org.
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Associate Editor: Jennifer Ouellette