San Diego knows the transformative economic power of scientific research. The wireless technologies invented here spawned QUALCOMM, our largest private employer, created thousands of high-wage jobs and changed the way the world communicates. Similarly, SPAWAR supports jobs and investment in basic research for military applications -- the kind of research that led to the development of the internet and GPS. And every day on Torrey Pines Mesa, researchers at Salk, Scripps Research, Sanford Burnham, UCSD, and elsewhere use grants from the National Institutes of Health to find cures to Alzheimer's disease and cancer. These scientific investments have transformed our world and raised the quality of life for millions; equally important, they've also created good-paying jobs for San Diegans.
In fact according to a recent study, high technology, which includes bio tech and life sciences, accounted for an economic impact of $41.5 billion and nearly 139,000 jobs last year -- about 11.2% of the region's total workforce. Notably the average wage in this sector is about $94,000, 86% more than the region's average salary. These industries are critical to our local economy, and San Diego deserves a representative who recognizes the importance of ensuring that they continue to thrive.
But Congress is backsliding on these investments. Scientific research funding is not keeping pace with inflation, and is even being cut. Disappointingly, the funding budgeted for research is increasingly allocated to serve politics or bureaucracy, and not to support the most rigorous and promising scientific advances. At a recent visit to the Salk Institute, I heard that our best students -- those looking at a career and future in the sciences -- are wondering whether science in America is the best bet for them. Because other countries are committing to scientific investment in an aggressive way, we face the prospect that the next Google or Qualcomm could be created by a UCSD graduate ... in China or England rather than San Diego, or California.
As a member of Congress, I will fight for adequate and consistent funding for scientific research. Investing in research is one of the best ways we can drive American competitiveness and job creation.