November 11, 2021
PHILADELPHIA — Today, 314 Action Fund announced its endorsement of nuclear engineer and Ph.D Chris Jones in the 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.
“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.”
“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.”
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 — and holding anti-science public figures accountable. 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.
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.
ABOUT CHRIS JONES:
Dr. Chris Jones grew up in Pine Bluff, Arkansas and always has a deep love for science. A son of two preachers, Chris was also raised with a strong sense of faith. He attended Morehouse College on a full NASA Scholarship, for physics and math, then went on to study at MIT earning a masters degree in Nuclear Engineering, a masters degree in Technology & Policy, and a Ph.D. in Urban Planning. After becoming ordained as a minister, Chris returned home to Arkansas with his wife, an emergency room physician, and their three daughters, and led the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub. Through this work, he spread STEAM education throughout the state and has seen firsthand how disparities within Arkansas have gotten worse, not better. He believes there is much room for growth, including improving public education opportunities in every community, strengthening infrastructure from roads to broadband access, protecting and securing our right to vote, and bridging the rural and urban divide. Chris has faith in Arkansas’s potential, and he’s running for governor to ensure every person in Arkansas has an opportunity to succeed.
314 Action Fund is powered by a grassroots community of over six million people working to elect scientists, doctors, and STEM professionals who will use science and facts to address our most pressing issues like climate change and health care. In 2018 and 2020, we 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.