Haley Stevens

Speech at Detroit March for Science – April 22, 2017

Haley Stevens
April 22, 2017— Detroit, Michigan
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My name is Haley Stevens. I am a woman in science. I have worked in a manufacturing research lab, and I am here today because I never thought we would be fighting for the right to think.

Growing up here in Michigan, I learned that America was the greatest country in the world – that we had the best hospitals filled with the smartest doctors, that we could solve any problem, that we can invent things like the internet and smart phones. And yes, I remember being promised a flying car. I'm still hoping for that one.

I have believed all of that and more, and I still do. I believe that American greatness falls squarely on our ability to innovate, where government can come and plow the field so that we can plant the seeds of innovation. Because we are a country of makers. We are a region of makers. We are a metro and a Detroit of doers.

We have led the 21st century squarely because the people who live here are able to turn big dreams into realities, that we allow the best minds to come here and flourish.

We can't afford a race to the bottom. We cannot afford the ripping away of investments in critical innovation and research from the space race to the binary code to health to water.

I remember in college under George Bush picking up those science books, leaning into compelling fields because I was concerned about having to preserve fact over demagoguery. And here we are again, where President Obama had 125 people serving in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy because he believed fact-driven data-driven policy – policy that I was privileged enough to work on.

Our current president has barely put a person in that office, because it is evident he and his cabinet do not care about fact or a science-driven agenda. We could be leading a new space race to Mars but yet here I stand with you demanding to let our scientists be allowed to do their work without censorship from our own federal government.

I stand here demanding with all of you that our scientists, our doctors, our mathematicians and our teachers be allowed to think and teach freely, to speak freely, to report their findings freely and honestly. I know that honesty is not something this administration cares much about but guess what – we do.

I want to know how, kind of like all of you, what's really happening with the weather.

As you know, and as William said, I am looking to run for Congress in Michigan's 11th district. You may have heard of my opponent. Some of you know him by the less-than-flattering but very accurate title of the Foreclosure King.

I'm not here to bring up his history of stealing family homes for his own personal profit. I am here to talk about his voting record, because just last month this man continued his party-line voting in support of Trump silencing of the science community. He voted YES on HR 1430, the pleasant-sounding Honest and Open New EPA Science Treatment Act of 2017. This bill prohibits the administration of the EPA from proposing any action or regulation that uses science which is not publicly available.

Come again? You already know that Trump has put a gag order on all federal scientists. His administration has shut Twitter feeds, scrubbed websites and banned media interviews. Thanks to these actions, there is no place for the public to access information collected by years of research. And thanks to the Honest and Open New EPA Science Treatment Act, the public cannot view science-based evidence. The EPA cannot act on their own fact-based science. Where have the party-line Republicans been on the precious Great Lakes funding?

You guys helped to elect this man. Now is our time to stand up for what is right. Now it is our time to put state and our Great Lakes and our country before party. The Trump administration, with the help of a very wealthy, very self-indulgent led Congress, is not only encouraging ignorance but they are stopping further innovation.

We are talking to you today, we are together here today because this is wrong. Researchers whose work on critical long-term projects, innovations that I have worked on, the very innovations that will continue to make us great, depend on critical and continued federal support, including public-private partnerships. Those partnerships depend on open communication, the very communication that the people in office today are looking to cut off.

Innovation was the thing that made America great, starting here, starting here, right here, right where we are standing in the Motor City. When Henry Ford created the first assembly line, that innovation brought us the manufacturing of the 20th century – great factories filled with men and women busy on the line, which in turn brought us a middle class.

It was American innovation that introduced the polio vaccine to the world in 1955, bringing forth the eradication of a terrifying disease.

It was American innovation that got us up to that giant pie in the sky first, before Russia.

That's where I, as a woman of science, know innovation made us great and it will continue to make us great. Because innovation comes from freedom of thought, and freedom of thought starts with education.

So when President Trump was just a celebrity and not a politician, I launched a STEM education program called Digital Days. Digital Days has exposed over 200 middle school and high school students to digital manufacturing concepts and processes. And I didn't just stop with young students. I worked to create the country's first training program for digital manufacturing for people of all ages and professions.

And I've been the only woman on the team. I know what it takes to get your voice heard in a lab full of men.

I started Digital Days for the very same reason I stand before you today. I stand here, a woman of science, refusing to go back. I am only interested in forward progress because I believe and I know our best days are ahead. I believe we are still a land of dreamers, innovators and yes, scientists. We can be, and we are, the place of tomorrow here in Detroit, in metro Detroit.

But if our government continues to stop investing in innovation, that's under threat. We are at our greatest as a country when our country tells us our brains are great, when education and scientific advancement are funded and supported by our federal and state government alike.

We need this support. We cannot allow them to continue to talk out of one side of their mouth while cutting off funding and silencing the scientists. We must hedge our bets and we continue to support science and research-based agenda.

Global competition, as we all know right here in the Motor City, global competition is fierce. India is getting to that red planet and I want to go, too. Don’t all of you?

Let’s do it. Science first, science always – this is our moment. Let's do this. Thank you.