Election season is all about voters getting to know the candidates running for public office in their state. Through town hall and other meetings, articles and editorials, advertisements and debates, voters obtain information about each candidate that can inform their decision-making at the polls. Ask Your Candidates! (AYC!), a voter education initiative launched by Research!America and terrific partners representing just about every segment of the medical and health research ecosystem, helps connect voters and candidates on the issue of America’s faltering commitment to medical progress. And AYC! did just that last Friday during its first event, a non-partisan meet-and-greet in Atlanta where candidates for U.S. Senate from Georgia discussed the role Congress plays in fueling U.S. medical innovation. The event, called “American Medical Progress: A Conversation with Candidates,” focused on the roles of the private sector and government in the research pipeline that discovers and develops lifesaving medical innovations. All of the candidates were invited, and remarks were delivered by three candidates – Art Gardner (R), Derrick Grayson (R) and Steen Miles (D) – and campaign representatives for Phil Gingrey (R), Jack Kingston (R), Michelle Nunn (D) and Branko Radulovacki (D). David Perdue (R) provided a statement that was read at the event. Click here for a transcript of the candidates’ remarks.
In their brief statements, many of the candidates, or their representatives, talked about their personal connections to medicine and research, citing family ties, educational backgrounds and professional endeavors. Each candidate or campaign representative gave the audience the benefit of their perspective, and these words will hopefully empower voters to choose candidates that have views on medical progress that align with their own. Attendees included local patients and families, as well as advocates for technology and research, students, university officials and local business leaders. Many of them talked to candidates, posed for pictures, and used the event as an opportunity to share why medical progress was important to them. For more pictures of the event, click here. Medical research touches every aspect of our daily lives, and connecting the dots helps us recognize the importance of research and the risks of letting public and private funding for research fall by the wayside. If support for research falters, so do treatments for kids with cancer and countless other patients with a multitude of diseases. Georgia’s candidates clearly recognize that medical progress is a national priority important to their constituents, and we hope candidates for federal office around the country will follow their lead. As a voter, the choice is yours. Do your candidates care about medical progress? Ask them. Send a message to your candidates today.