Science Debate VA

Science Debate Coalition for Virginia

SPI is part of a coalition of non-partisan science policy organizations who are committed to the importance of science and evidence in policymaking. We have joined together in partnership with Science Debate to develop and distribute a brief questionnaire regarding selected science policy topics that affect Virginia voters to candidates for public office in Virginia.

Science Debate is a national organization that has presented questionnaires to, and has received responses from, Presidential and other federal office candidates since 2007. The answers, posted on Science Debate’s website, have been viewed by millions of voters and covered by media organizations such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. In recent years, Science Debate has partnered with the National Science Policy Network (NSPN), an organization composed of early career scientists and engineers interested in public policy, to submit questionnaires to candidates running for federal offices from various states, including Virginia.

To ensure candidates' voices come through to voters, we do not edit or comment on the content of their responses in any way - we play a neutral, non-partisan role in elevating the importance of science policy issues in election campaigns and in legislative action. We post responses publicly on Science Debate’s website (where presidential candidate responses have garnered as many as 850 million media impressions), notify our coalition memberships of the responses by email and social media, and work with the press to develop stories about the responses in print, online, and broadcast media.

In the era of COVID-19 and increasing voter concern about issues such as the costs of prescriptions and impacts of natural disasters, we believe that questions of science policy will be more important to Virginia voters than ever before.