National nonprofit, 314 Action Fund is officially endorsing nuclear engineer, Chris Jones, Ph.D, in the 2022 Arkansas gubernatorial race. Jones would be the first Black governor of Arkansas, a historic opportunity for a state that has been the site of some of the most important moments in America’s continued fight for civil rights.
314 Action Fund is a nonprofit political action committee that seeks to elect scientists, doctors, and STEM professionals in the United States to address pressing issues like climate change and health care. In 2018 and 2020, it played a pivotal role in flipping the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, electing eleven Democratic scientists to federal office, as well as over 100 to state and local offices. In 2021 and 2022, 314 Action Fund will continue working to elect science leaders and defeat climate deniers in Congress and legislatures across the country.
“As someone who has spent years finding innovative solutions to solve problems facing his state, Chris Jones’ STEM background makes him a perfect candidate to lead Arkansas,” said Shaughnessy Naughton, president of 314 Action. “As a multi-generational Arkansan, a preacher and a scientist, Chris can reach one of the largest blocks of Arkansans — nonvoters — and mobilize them to win next November.”
Last month, 314 Action launched a $10 million, cycle-long advocacy campaign focused on engaging voters on critical science issues — including climate change, health care, and the pandemic response. Additionally, 314 Action has engaged its six million grassroots member base to push for pro-science legislation at the federal level and across the states.
“I am excited and humbled to receive this endorsement from 314 Action. From using lasers to measure the muddyness of water as a high school student, to calibrating the gas flow system of a plasma rocket as an intern at NASA, to creating magnetic diagnostic tools for a levitated dipole as a graduate student at MIT, to teaching ninth grade advanced algebra, it has always been clear to me that STEM is a cornerstone of my life.” said Dr. Chris Jones. “314 Action understands that many of our most intractable societal problems require an understanding of STEM to even begin to be solved. Their sustained work of putting science at the policy making table is making a tangible difference. With this support from 314 Action, I look forward to bringing my passion for and understanding of STEM to the Arkansas policy making table so that every part of Arkansas can achieve the future we deserve.”
In 2022, 314 Action Fund will aim to spend $50 million to elect scientists across all levels of government, with initial targets of seven U.S. Senate races, forty U.S. House races, and twenty-one statewide races, including Arkansas. In 2020, the organization spent $25 million on behalf of its endorsed candidates and raised a total of $5 million in grassroots donations for scientists running for office.
Earlier this week, Jones’ campaign manager, Rhonna-Rose Akama-Makia, issued an official statement regarding Republican opponent Leslie Rutledge leaving the 2022 Arkansas race for governor:
“The Chris Jones campaign is laser-focused on the people of Arkansas and issues we face on a daily basis: access to safe roads and clean drinking water; availability of high quality public schools; good-paying jobs and economic development that uplifts all communities across our state. Chris will continue engaging Arkansans and sharing his vision for a place his family has called home for over 200 years.
We would love a healthy exchange of ideas but Sarah Sanders had made it clear that she is more focused on division and doing what’s best for the connected few and her national reputation, and that’s the truth. We have pressing challenges here in our state and being Governor is a job that has an immediate direct impact on people’s lives. Arkansans need someone they can trust in office. Voters now have a clear choice.”