June 1, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

Hans Keirstead interview on his congressional run, how you can help

Hans Keirstead is one of the top stem cell scientists in the world who has been doing cutting edge research including on using stem cells to reverse paralysis where he teamed up with super patient advocate Roman Reed (see the two pictured at right), but now he is also running for Congress.Hans Keirstead and Roman Reed

How cool is that?

Here is a quick Q&A interview with Hans today (see below). Please consider making a campaign contribution to support his candidacy. He would be amazing as a Congressman!

  1. When did you first get interested in running for Congress? Was there some particular “aha!” moment when you decided to go for it? 

HK: I chose to begin my career as a professor here, start all my businesses here, and my wife and I are raising our child here, because Orange County exemplifies excellence in opportunity.

Orange County offered me the opportunity to research and teach with a top educational institution, hire the most talented employees, and raise my son in a stunningly beautiful environment.

I am running for Congress because under our current representation I’ve seen those qualities and opportunities be degraded. Congressman Rohrabacher has held public office for almost three decades, but in recent years he seems more concerned with his career in Washington. Orange County needs a representative whose priority is us. And on the national front, I see a degradation of the medical, science and healthcare sectors. As this represents 1/5th of our economy, it is important to have specialists in Congress with field experience in the sector.

So, the moments that made me run for Congress were spread out. But they crossed a threshold around the time that the administration changed and the new budget and healthcare programs were proposed.

  1. As a scientist, what will you bring to Congress that is unique?

HK: Out of the current 435 members of congress only four members have PhDs. I want to be clear, you do not need a PhD to be smart or to be a good representative of your district. However, when it comes to tackling the monumental issues of our time, having a representative with field experience in the science, medicine and healthcare sectors will be a benefit to our nation. I have been developing medicines for spinal cord injury, cancer and other diseases all of my life. These are complex problems, that are tackled in a complex environment. I will bring a system of problem solving and accountability to Congress.

  1. Some of us in science feel that President Trump has views and has taken actions that are anti-science. Do you share that view? If so, what can we do about it?

HK: Unfortunately, we have recently seen anti-science positions being taken up by our President and our Congressman. As the leader of our nation, the President has vital responsibility to represent truth and fact — something he frequently ignores on even the smallest of matters.

At a time where facts seem to be up for debate, it is imperative that we bring a system of truth, unbiased analyses, and non-partisan solutions to Congress. That’s what scientists do in solving the greatest problems of our day; that’s what I intend to bring to Congress.

  1. Do you have particular concerns about the incumbent in your district?

HK:Dana Rohrabacher has been focused elsewhere, on bizarre issues, and representing our district and country in a manner that is inelegant and untrue. Perhaps he represented the sentiments of our district 28 years ago, but he no longer does.

  1. What are your main goals if you are elected?

HK: I will focus on our district, to protect and develop our infrastructure. This means protecting our unique environment, enhancing our roads/bridges/parks/beaches etc., and encouraging economic development in our district. On the national level, I will bring efficiencies to the healthcare system with a goal of lowering premiums and tax while bringing quality care to those that do not get it. The aged, sick, women’s issues etc. should not be sidelined as the current proposals mandate. And as we did with Prop 71 here in CA, I’d like to enhance scientific and medical funding while stimulating the economy…this has been done on a state level, and we can do it on a national level.

  1. If readers of my blog want to support your candidacy what things can they do to help?

HK: Please contribute to my campaign at: www.hansforca.com/donate

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