Science and Technology
The health and longevity of the Oklahoma economy depends in large part on the acceleration of scientific and technological innovations. Maintaining Oklahoma’s leadership in these fields requires a concerted effort to ensure ongoing investments in technology, education and scientific investigations.
In Oklahoma, we are all too aware of the tangible impact our environment can have on our lives, making the study of weather patterns of great importance to our safety. The Fourth District of Oklahoma is the proud home to the National Weather Center, a massive research center that provides facts and predictions regarding the weather and information on emergency preparedness. Not only does the center provide lifesaving resources to Oklahomans, but it also benefits our state’s economy and workforce as a major employer to our district for scientists, researchers and meteorologists from around the world.
Health research is a growing and key economic force in Oklahoma. The state’s bioscience community includes business and research endeavors that support more than 51,000 Oklahoma jobs and have contributed more than $6.7 billion to the state and yielded over $4.1 billion in annual revenues. Included in the bioscience sector are studies in applied science, medical devices, pharmaceuticals and agriculture feedstock and chemicals.
Plant research has enormous potential to improve nutrition, health and even commercial applications that impact plant productivity and seed management. The high-tech development of new products and services will improve the agriculture industry for Oklahoma and play a key role in ensuring that the rapidly growing population of the world continues to have a sufficient supply of high quality food, drug therapies and alternative sources for fuels well into the 21st century.
I am also supportive of grant programs geared towards the skills students learn by studying science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). There are dozens of federal grant programs that provide support for high-quality learning opportunities in STEM subjects. In particular, Oklahoma has successfully used federal dollars to bring high-quality STEM content and experiences to students from low-income, high-need schools. I believe such training will inspire these students to become leaders who can solve the most pressing challenges facing Oklahoma and the nation at large.
More on Science and Technology
While lawmakers debate numerous issues of significance, an important matter surrounding personal freedom and national security quietly looms in the background. America and our Western allies are locked in a modern-day space race with China and Russia to establish international norms for the revolutionary 5G wireless network.
Last week brought some significant news for Oklahoma that affirmed the tremendous talent and potential that exists in our state’s medical and research communities. Specifically, I was honored to have a part in applauding Oklahoma based researchers who are leading the way at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF), as recognized by two competitive federal grants that were recently awarded.
Like most rhetoric coming from President Barack Obama, his latest budget was filled with initiatives that sound good until you get into the details, especially the details regarding how to pay for these initiatives. This couldn’t have been more clear than in the method he proposed to deal with health threats to society posed by diseases like cancer and conditions like opioid abuse. While the president saw the value of enlisting biomedical and scientific researchers to deal with these problems, his proposed plan to pay for these policies is extremely irresponsible.