Vanderbilt Science Policy Group wants to hear from candidates on matters of science

Vanderbilt Science Policy Group wants to hear from candidates on matters of science

The Vanderbilt Science Policy Group (VSPG) has announced a “Bipartisan Science Policy Forum” set for Oct. 24 “to highlight the importance of science and its impact on society during the 2018 midterm elections.”

So far, however, the forum isn’t bipartisan. Only U.S. House candidate Justin Kanew and Tennessee House District 61 candidate Rebecca Purington — both Democrat candidates — have accepted the student organization’s invitation to the event, from 6-7:30 p.m. on Oct. 24 at the Williamson Country Enrichment Center, 110 Everbright Avenue, Franklin.

“In regards to only having Democratic candidates, they are the only ones who have accepted the invitation to join the event,” explained Coleman Harris, communications chair of the Vanderbilt Science Policy Group, which is described as apolitical. “We have reached out to the relevant Republican candidates, with no response as of yet. So in short, we aim for the event to be bipartisan, with the realization that it may only be Democratic candidates who join.”

“We welcome all community members, including those working in the life sciences, to attend this event.”

Kanew is the Democratic candidate for US House in the Tennessee 7th district and is a film writer and producer who lives in the College Grove area.

Purington, of Brentwood, has worked in aerospace, defense, intelligence and technology, and is the Democratic candidate running for the seat vacated by Rep. Charles Sargent, who is retiring.

Both Democratic candidates say they hope to find solutions for the access to, and affordability of, health care.

Vanderbilt Science Policy Group’s Science Policy Forum is partially funded by Research!America’s Bipartisan Civic Engagement Initiative, in partnership with the National Science Policy Network (NSPN). As such, an invitation to participate in this forum has been extended to the campaigns of State Sen. Mark Green, Republican candidate for US House (TN-7th), and Brandon Ogles, Republican candidate for Tennessee House District 61.

In addition to the forum-style discussion on science issues, there will be a brief reception. Organizers are asking attendees to RSVP at Any questions regarding the event can be directed towards Amrita Banerjee (VSPG president) at


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