Monday, May 3, 2010

Hello and Welcome!

I set up this blog to serve as a repository for discussion and ideas regarding Albert's List.

What is Albert's List, you ask? Well, I'll tell you.

Albert's List is an idea brought to me by Congressman Bill Foster (D-IL), one of only 3 physicists working in Congress right now. Now, this idea wasn't actually Bill's either, but he heard of it from a friend and passed it along. The idea is this:

Create a PAC (Political Action Committee) that serves to raise money and support candidates for public office that are classically trained scientists and engineers, with the ultimate goal of transforming politics into a meritocracy of ideas, where decisions are made based on facts, rather than strictly ideology.

Albert's List would be modeled off of Emily's List, the PAC devoted to electing Pro-Choice, Democratic Women to public office. However, Albert's List would instead be working to get any scientist or engineer into public office, regardless of party. Emily's List gets its name from the acronym E.M.I.L.Y. - Early Money Is Like Yeast (it makes the dough rise). The idea being that giving candidates a cash-infusion early on in their campaign gives them the ability to raise even more money, and (unfortunately) money is what runs political campaigns.

I created this blog to start a discussion with anyone who cares about the idea behind Albert's List and to hear ideas from others about how it should / would work. I'm looking to start this PAC after this year's elections, and Mr. Foster has already told me that he would be more than happy to provide contacts of his that would be able to help raise capital to get it started.

The big questions I have right now are these:

1. How do you create an objective test to determine if a candidate should be supported by Albert's List? There should be little to no question in determining which candidates are eligible to being supported. Things to consider: Do Theology Ph.D.'s count? What about Psychologists? What about people without "classical" training, but who are clearly fact-based individuals? These are questions that I don't know the answer to, but these answers are imperative if Albert's List is to become a reality.

2. Is there enough demand for this type of PAC in the country for it to be sustainable and useful? People seem to be sick of "politics as usual," but is this the solution they are looking for?

In future posts I'll be posting insights of my own about this idea, opinions of others that I have talked to, and at some point (hopefully) developmental steps as this idea begins to become a reality.

Thanks for reading, and share your thoughts in the comments!


  1. Hi Kyle,
    Great questions! My name is Brie Welzer - I'm the Program Director of SEA - Scientists and Engineers for America, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization.

    My comments are my own opinions - not representing the opinions of SEA staff or our Board of Directors.

    It's my opinion (as someone without a PhD)that we need more science and engineering PhDs in Congress. I think these citizens have very unique perspectives and are much too quiet on the paths they've taken within their career. We need to encourage them to speak out, to discuss their training, to discuss how to improve their training - and the overall culture of science and engineering - and certainly speak to the public more about their own personal support of research.

    At first, I was somewhat unsure about Rep. Foster not considering physicians - but after some thought, I agree. This list, I believe, should be specific to scientists and engineers. (perhaps physician-scientists as well).

    Thank you for starting this blog to circulate this idea. I look forward to future posts!

  2. Hi! I see this is an old post but I just read about Bill Foster working on "Albert's List" today in a news article and your page was the only place I could find to initiate any sort of contact on the topic. I think a PAC of this type is sorely needed. I am not a scientist so I don't feel qualified to opine over methods for determining who gets to play but I would feel that anyone with a strong history of evidence-based science would qualify. Perhaps membership in certain scientific organizations could be considered. Merit should also be afforded to those with a strong history of participation in peer-reviewed published studies. As for outliers such as fact-based non-scientists, I feel they should be included although I am unsure what criteria one would use to establish their reliance on evidence. An interview panel perhaps? I hope that those with a clearer undertanding than my own are able to find the answers to these issues. With all my heart, I want to see this happen. I am a middle-class working mom so time and money are not plentiful but if this PAC comes to fruition, I will find a way to contribute. If my comment gets any notice (which I realize is a long shot on a 9 month old blog post with no other comments), please pass along my encouragement and good wishes!