Senator Karen Carter Peterson is one of the bravest women I’ve had the honor to meet. I’ve been unbelievably lucky to be on her side and to have spent the last year fighting alongside her for the future of Louisiana students. Fighting for students like my younger sister, who wants to be a veterinarian, to get the science education they need. Fighting for students like my friend Benny, who is going to take his first biology class in the fall.
Back in 2008, the Louisiana Legislature passed a creationism law, the misnamed and misguided Louisiana Science Education Act. This law hurts our state and it hurts Louisiana students. It makes us a “laughingstock,” to quote Sir Harry Kroto, a Nobel Laureate scientist. The Louisiana Science Education Act costs our state millions of dollars in lost tourism revenue. It drives scientists out of our state and keeps science investment away. This law keeps Louisiana students from getting the science background that many colleges will look for during the application process. Louisiana students won’t get the science background they need to land cutting edge science jobs. And besides being just plain dumb, the Louisiana Science Education Act is flat out unconstitutional for violating the First Amendment.
The Louisiana Science Education Act is one of the most regressive pieces of legislation that our state has passed. Despite that, it passed nearly unanimously in 2008. Why? Because powerful lobbying groups like the Louisiana Family Forum threw their money and influence behind the job killing creationism law. Senator Peterson stood strong and voted against the act. She was one of only three people with the courage to do this.
If her bravery had stopped there, it would have blown me away, but Karen wasn’t done standing up for Louisiana’s future, for its kids. This year, she took the extraordinary step to join me in fighting to repeal the misguided job killing creationism law. She sponsored SB 70 to repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act. Last fall, when I was looking for a sponsor, everyone told me that I would never find one. Not only did I find one, the moment I approached Karen with the repeal, she was one hundred percent behind it.
Senator Peterson is on the right side of history. She is on the side of over 40 Nobel Laureates who endorsed the repeal. She is on the side of the scientists. The American Association for the Advancement of Science, which is an organization of over 10 million scientists, endorsed the repeal. She is on the side of the teachers. The National Association of Biology Teachers endorsed the repeal. She is on the side of 65,000 people who signed a petition in support of the repeal. She is on the side of the Clergy Letter Project, an organization of over 13,000 clergy members who strongly support teaching evolution in public schools. Lastly, Karen is on the side of the students.
Louisiana needs a legislature made up of Senator Petersons, but at the moment we only have one. We need to keep Karen there to fight for Louisiana’s students, for Louisiana’s future. Please help me keep her there. Please donate to her reelection campaign. Head down to New Orleans and spend some time volunteering on her campaign. Tell her thank you! Make a difference for Louisiana by helping us keep Karen where she can fight for Louisiana’s students.