One thing that's hard to appreciate if you don't live around the Beltway is the sheer number of job changes that occur in DC after a major election. Not only will the presidency change hands in 2009, but a fair number of new legislators are coming to Congress. Add to that all of the appointees of a new administration, their related hires, staffers, aides, and interns, and it's a mini population shift. This can only mean a positive change for science and technology policy.
Not only is President-elect Obama tech savvy and aware of the need for home-grown innovation and research, he is accompanied by a cohort of legislators that constitute the largest number of science-educated professionals ever in Congress at one time. According to Scientists and Engineers for America, the 111th Congress will include 22 men and women with degrees in science or engineering; another 27 have degrees in the health sciences. For those senators and representatives that have been reelected to the 111th Congress, you can take a look at their voting records on issues of science, technology, innovation, and education here.
The transition is already in progress. Today is the last day of the week-long freshman orientation for newly elected legislators. Click here to listen to my favorite DC NPR morning news segment, Power Breakfast, which describes the office lottery for new legislators that goes on today. Now is the time to start looking for new digs on the local rental market (with leases that match legislative terms) or to watch Craig’s List for that high-end resale furniture!