By Dana Kampa
U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., showed her support for university research and its contributions to economic growth while speaking with researchers, students and staff at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Tuesday.
Following her appointment to the federal Budget Conference Committee last week, Baldwin visited Professor Bruce Klein's molecular medical mycology lab to learn about UW-Madison's innovations in immunity. She also explained her beliefs in how promoting research will ultimately strengthen the national economy.
"We're pretty excited about the stuff we've found out," Klein said to Baldwin when describing the research done by the university on antibodies produced by ants.
Baldwin said she appreciated the opportunity to hear about the importance of the state's investment in science that helps human health, the nation's energy future and the state economy.
Throughout the visit, Baldwin said she believes investing in science will help stabilize the national economy.
When asked about the goals of the committee, Baldwin stressed the need for all parties to focus on growing the United States' fragile economy. She said the committee has "a lot of work to do."
"There is recognition that basic science--applied science--creates ideas and innovations that ultimately spur our economy," Baldwin said when discussing bipartisan support. "Based on the tour that I just took, not only that, but you can see incredible potential for advancements that help all of humankind."
Baldwin also said the government needs to start working together rather than playing the "blame game" in the aftermath of the shutdown.
Following her tour of the lab, Baldwin held a roundtable discussion with faculty about the "very serious threat" the government imposed financial restrictions known as the sequester poses for university research. Klein also expressed concern about the sequester's potential impact.
"I think some of the concern we had around the funding situation, in a federal sense, is that it is the basic science that is being wedged out more than you would think," Klein said.
Baldwin said she fears future generations will be deterred from going into scientific fields because, "flat-funding makes it harder and harder for young, promising researchers to get grants."