Joe Morelle, Democratic Party, NY-25


  1. What should be the role of science and scientists in government policy- and decision-making?

Science and scientists should play a critical role in government policy and decision-making. We must listen to and heed the advice of experts, especially on topics like climate change and healthcare, where the consequences of ignoring science are particularly devastating for our country. 

  1. Optional: Taxpayer-funded basic research is a key economic driver. What is your position on the Endless Frontiers Act? With the added technology arm and focus on commercialization to the National Science Foundation’s mission, what policies would you support to ensure equity for taxpayers?

I am a proud co-sponsor of the Endless Frontiers Act and believe we must make bold investments in scientific and technological innovation. Especially in light of the record unemployment caused by COVID-19, we must look towards new sectors of our economy to grow and sustain jobs.


  1. What have you learned from the coronavirus pandemic? What policy changes should be made to both prevent and respond to future pandemics in a more effective way?

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on every facet of our economy and our society—but particularly in the healthcare sphere. We must increase investment in scientific research, bolster resources for the CDC, and improve our response strategy. COVID-19 could have been more contained had the White House administration acted sooner. We also need to ensure our healthcare systems have the resources and equipment to address future crises, which is why I’ve worked to secure personal protective equipment for frontline workers and federal investments in our local hospitals and health centers. 


  1. What are your policy priorities to address the ongoing climate crisis? How would these policies impact other systems, if any (e.g. economy, agriculture, education)?

Climate change is an existential crisis that threatens the future of our children and the long-term vitality of our planet. I have worked tirelessly to advance laws that protect clean air and water, reduce carbon pollution, and increase our reliance on renewable energies. I’m a proud co-sponsor of H.R. 9, the Climate Action Now Act; H. Res 52, the Climate Emergency Resolution; and H.R. 763, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act to reduce carbon emissions by 45% by 2030 and 90% by 2050; as well as a multitude of other legislation that can be found here. 

But the climate crisis doesn’t just impact our environment—it impacts our economy, our educational systems, and so much more. That’s why I am a co-sponsor of the THRIVE Agenda, a comprehensive road map to combat environmental injustice, create jobs, and address the longstanding inequities in our society. 


  1. Do you support the Green New Deal? Why or why not? If you support transitioning our economy away from fossil fuel dependence, how will you support workers who will need to transition to different industries?

While I do not support the Green New Deal in its entirety, I support many of its proposals, including transitioning our economy away from fossil fuel dependence. As stated above, I am a co-sponsor of the THRIVE Agenda, which outlines a comprehensive strategy to create new jobs for those transitioning out of fossil-fuel based jobs.


  1. What should our education system, from K-12 to higher ed, be doing to prepare students to be adaptable critical thinkers, especially considering the challenges of climate change, misinformation, and work at the human-technology frontier?

Our educational institutions play a vital role in ensuring students are equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to reach their full potential and navigate our complex society. This starts with investing in our schools, which is why I co-sponsor H.R. 865, the Rebuild America’s Schools Act, to invest $100 billion in public schools and create better working and learning conditions for students and teachers everywhere. We must invest in STEM education that prepares students for the jobs of tomorrow; we must work to close the achievement gap and bridge the digital divide that hold too many children back from a full education; and we must ensure our schools provide students with an education that opens the door to a four-year degree or a living-wage job opportunity following graduation.


  1. To what extent are you concerned about the threat of climate change in disrupting agriculture in New York State in the coming decades? What, if any, policy changes should be made to ensure our farms are resilient?

Climate change poses a significant threat to agriculture in New York State—particularly the increased flooding that my community in particular has seen in recent years. Flooding can ruin an entire season, which is why I have partnered with American Flood Coalition and my partners in government along the Great Lakes on mitigation, response, and resiliency efforts. 


  1. Restrictions and suspensions of new work visas, especially for high-skilled workers in science and technology fields, could affect scientific progress and innovation. Do you agree with these restrictions? Why or why not?

I do not agree with these restrictions and believe work visas are important to cultivating a highly skilled, competitive workforce.

  1. Optional: As climate change worsens, the number of climate refugees will increase within the US as well as globally. What role should the US play in mitigating this problem? How, if at all, should US immigration policies adapt to this issue?

Without action now, climate change will force millions of humans from their homes. We need to be proactive in the fight against climate change that is resulting in increased climate migration, something we’ve seen in my own community following Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. I am a co-sponsor of the Climate Displaced Persons Act (H.R. 4732) which would create formal protections for Climate Displaced Persons (CDPs), as well as create a humanitarian program to allow CPDs access to resettlement opportunities.


  1. What is your position on the 1996 Dickey Amendment? What role should the federal government take in addressing issues relating to gun violence?

I am strongly opposed to the Dickey Amendment—in fact, I was proud to vote for an appropriations package last year that included funding for gun violence research for the first time in decades. I believe the federal government has a vital role to play in addressing issues relating to gun violence, which has plagued too many of our schools, streets, and neighborhoods. That’s why I have authored and co-sponsored legislation to ban assault weapons, enact universal background checks, and keep illegal guns off our streets.