Meet The Volcanologist Running For Congress

“If I can get people to understand the difference between weather and climate, then we could solve a lot of problems we’re faced with right now,” Jess Phoenix tells IFLScience. “Neil deGrasse Tyson did a pretty sweet job conveying this on Cosmos.

She then adds: “Unfortunately, you can’t make everyone watch Cosmos.”

It’s 2017, and the Trump administration and vast swaths of the Republican Party continue to defy everything, from expectations to facts. Science has no place in this government.

Faced with this eruption of anti-scientific hedonism, one volcanologist has decided to fight back. The aptly named Phoenix is running for California’s 25th district in the upcoming midterms, and she sat down with IFLScience to explain why.

“After the election, I went through the period of shock that plenty of Americans and foreigners went through,” Phoenix says. “Nobody could believe it – it was pretty traumatic to around half the country.”

Then, after her 35th birthday this January, she had an epiphany.

“I suddenly realized that I had become eligible to run for office. I’ve had a lot of great local, national and international experience – and as a scientist, I know how to communicate with the public effectively.”

“So I decided that I wanted to help make the US government a place where logic, sanity, and facts prevail. It may not happen, but at the very least, people like me will have tried.”

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Phoenix in the field. Dr. Benjamin Schwartz

“We are in imminent peril,” she stresses. “When our national parks are at stake, when our health is at stake, when even our basic scientific literacy is at stake – you just can’t compromise on those types of things. You have to fight.”

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