Saturday, July 12, 2008

Rush Holt--will he assist science?

Rush Holt

Will Rush Holt be a significant spokesperson for the sciences in congress? Time will tell.

Rush Holt, 59, is a resident of Hopewell Township, N.J. Born in West Virginia, he inherited his interest in politics from his parents. Hisfather was the youngest person ever to be elected to the U.S. Senate, at age 29. His mother served as Secretary of State of West Virginia and was the first woman to hold that position.

Rep. Holt earned his B.A. in Physics from Carleton College in Minnesota and completed his Master’s and Ph.D. at NYU. He has held positions as a teacher, Congressional Science Fellow, and arms control expert at the U.S. State Department where he monitored the nuclear programs of countries such as Iraq, Iran, North Korea, and the former Soviet Union. From 1989 until he launched his 1998 congressional campaign, Holt was Assistant Director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, the largest research facility of Princeton University and the largest center for research in alternative energy in New Jersey. He has conducted extensive research on alternative energy and has his own patent for a solar energy device. Holt was also a five-time winner of the game show "Jeopardy."

An active Member of Congress and a strong voice for his constituents, Rep. Holt serves on the Committee on Education and Labor, the Committee on Natural Resources, and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Holt is the only scientist and only Member from the New Jersey delegation to sit on the Intelligence Committee. Holt is also the Chairman of the Select Intelligence Oversight Panel. Created at the start of the 110th Congress in January 2007, the Panel is working to strengthen oversight of the intelligence community by ensuring that policymakers receive accurate assessments, civil liberties are safeguarded, and the intelligence community is protecting Americans.

Holt was honored to serve on the National Commission on Mathematics and Science Teaching for the 21st Century chaired by former Senator and astronaut John Glenn. He is co-chair of the Research and Development Caucus, and sits on Congressional caucuses concerning Children's Environmental Health, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Development, Alzheimer’s, Diabetes, Biomedical Research, Internet, Community College, Farmland Protection, Human Rights, and a Women’s Right to Choose. Rep. Holt is also a member of the New Democrat Coalition.

Rep. Holt has won several significant victories in Washington. He helped secure more than $700 million in new federal funding for science and technology research. He passed an amendment to the Land and Water Conservation Fund providing millions in funding for protecting open space and he was instrumental in adding the lower Delaware River to the National Wild and Scenic River program. He has led the effort to increase rail/transit security funding, most recently succeeding in doubling federal funding to $400 million in 2008. As a member of the House Committee on Education and Labor, Holt helped write the College Cost Reduction Act – the largest college aid expansion since the GI Bill – which cuts student loan interest rates in half, increases individual Pell Grant amounts by $1,090 over five years, and forgives loans for graduates who provide 10 years of public service. The bill also includes Holt's provision to provide upfront tuition assistance – up to $16,000 per year – for math, science and foreign language teachers – supporting Holt's effort to strengthen such education in the U.S.

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