Sep 20, 2007
SANTA FE - Concerned citizens of New Mexico have organized a non-partisan "Save Our Science" rally to take place at noon Friday on the steps of the Capitol.
"We seek to impress our political leadership on the importance of Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories to both the world's science and our state's economy," said LANL scientists Ron Dolin and Srinivasan Srivilliputhur.
In a letter to elected officials throughout New Mexico, Dolin and Srivilliputhur ask for support of LANL and Sandia.
"We, a non-partisan group of concerned citizens including Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, are dismayed by the projected cuts in the Los Alamos and Sandia National laboratories' budgets proposed for FY2008 by the United States House of Representative Committee on Appropriations," their letter stated.
"This Committee's disappointing budget proposal undermines our national and homeland security during a crucial time in our nation's history when we are locked in a global struggle against extremism, terror, and nuclear weapons proliferation. Effective defense against aggression requires continued investment in the world class science and technology being developed at Los Alamos and Sandia."
The scientists praised those members of New Mexico's federal congressional delegation who have joined in a bipartisan effort to help preserve national and homeland security. They have circulated a petition locally and to the rest of the federal delegation to unequivocally support the continued mission of the nation's premier national laboratories.
"We thank those members of the New Mexico state congressional delegation who support the science, mission, and people at Los Alamos and Sandia laboratories and petition you to draft a bipartisan resolution supporting our state's premier national laboratories," the scientists said.
They thanked elected officials in northern New Mexico who support Los Alamos and Sandia and who appreciate "the intellectual, cultural, and economic impact the laboratories have within area communities."
"We petition you to draft bipartisan resolutions in your councils supporting our laboratories and the people who provide so much pride, prestige and promise to our communities," the scientists said in the letter.
Dolin said Santa Fe County and the City of Espanola have issued resolutions supporting LANL and he has approached members of the Los Alamos County Council requesting they do the same.
It has been somewhat difficult for the scientists to gain nonpartisan momentum for Friday's rally because Dolin is chairman of the Republican Party of Los Alamos and ran against Rep. Tom Udall, D-N.M., in the last election and Srivilliputhur is on the board of the Republican Party of Los Alamos.
Dolin said this morning that one city councilor and one county councilor from Santa Fe, both Democrats, have agreed to speak at the rally, adding the he also has received many e-mails from LANL employees expressing their support for the rally.
"As young officers of the Republican Party, we are learning a lot about grassroots politics and party politics," Dolin said. "The citizens of Albuquerque all come together every time there is a threat of closing Kirtland AFB. We chose the Capitol as a symbol of our great Democracy and naively thought Democrats and Independents would join us in this effort - how could they not support the lab?"
Srivilliputhur explained that what they hope to accomplish at the rally is to raise awareness.
"We want people in decision making positions to know we care," he said. "This is a great laboratory to work for and I just want to raise my voice."
Dolin agreed, adding, "If you feel powerless, here is something you can do. Scientists aren't generally known for rallies and this is a little outside our comfort zone but it's something we can do."
The scientists are still accepting sponsors and encourage individuals and groups of any political persuasion to participate in the rally.
The rally will be held on the Old Santa Fe Trail side of the Capitol, with free parking across the street. For information, call 695-0149 or 695-0677 or e-mail SOSLANL@gmail.com.