An Ecologist in the US Senate? Could it happen?

This came via Ecolog-L a couple of days ago: Dr. Rand Knight, a Ph.D. in ecosystems analysis, member of the Ecological Society of America, and a recent postdoc at the NSF’s National Ecological Observatory Network, has just announced his candidacy for the U.S. senate seat open in the next round from Georgia!

Rand Knight, most recently a post-doctoral associate with NEON, has just announced his candidacy for the US Senate seat currently held by Saxby Chambliss from Georgia.

The Senate Office of Archives and Public Records indicates that he is the first Ph.D. in Ecology/Environmental Science to run for US Senate. Wouldn’t it be a great day when an ESA President or staff from the Public Affairs Office are on “The Hill” giving testimony before one of our own.

His campaign web site is at:

While I haven’t seen much about this in the blogosphere yet, here’s an interesting comment, especially on the potential implications of his replacing Chambliss, from’s lurking ecologist:

First, Chambliss has been the Chairman of the Agricultural, Nutrition and Forestry Committee in the Senate, and of course, he has been a disaster, ignoring forecasts of drought, global warming, etc. etc. Typical GOP SOP. Knight has a PhD in ecosystem analysis and from this standpoint, he would be one of the most qualified Senators in history to lead this committee if he were elected and then appointed the committee position. It also gives him a strong base from which to point out the failings of the current Senator. With his educational background, Knight believes in and understands the science behind the most important ecological and environmental issues of the day, and the future. Think that doesn’t matter in Georgia? Think again, as water quality decreases, sea levels rise, and wild fires and crop losses increase with greater drought severity.

Knight’s stands on issues are truly Democratic and Progressive, so he isn’t a DINO like Zell Miller was. He does not have a long career in politics, which I suppose is a blessing and a curse, but he does come from a well known GA family. Frankly, I’m tired of old men being elected to Senate anyway.

By the way, I don’t know Knight personally or even in passing. I am a professional ecologist though, and the thought of having a professional ecologist in the Senate during these times of impending environmental crisis is very appealing.

Very appealing indeed, I have to agree (and I don’t know Knight either). But how likely is it to happen? In any case, this is one race we (ecologists, environmentalists, scientists, science bloggers) should definitely keep an eye on, don’t you think?

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