The House Science and Technology Committee will undergo a major change during the next Congress. Two of the Committee’s senior Democrats have announced that they will not seek re-election.

Committee Chairman, Representative Bart Gordon (D-TN), will retire at the end of the 111th Congress. The 13-term Representative made his announcement on 14 December 2009. Gordon joined the committee as a freshman in 1985. He has been a strong supporter of research. Among his accomplishments is the American COMPETES Act, a law which reauthorized the budgets of the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the Department of Energy Office of Science. Representative Jerry Costello (D-IL) is expected by many science policy watchers to replace Gordon as Committee Chairman; Costello is the second most senior Democrat on the committee.

In a surprise announcement on 9 December 2009, Representative Brian Baird (D-WA), Chairman of the House Science and Technology Subcommittee on Energy and Environment, announced that he will not seek re-election in 2010, citing his need to spend more time with his family. Baird, who has a PhD in clinical psychology, has ruffled feathers over the years, often voting against his party on issues like the Iraq war and health care reform. He has been a champion for science during his 12 years of service in Congress, and has sponsored such bills as the International Science and Technology Cooperation Act (HR 1736), legislation that would create a committee to coordinate all international science and technology activities among federal research agencies and the Department of State. Baird also sponsored HR 3247, a bill to establish a social and behavioral sciences research program at the Department of Energy.

 


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