Congressman Rush Holt, 54, the congressional representative for New Jersey’s 12th District, will speak Monday, Oct. 20, 11:30 a.m.- 1 p.m., at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). Holt, a physicist who was associated for more than a decade with the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory at Princeton University, is one of the few scientists in Congress.
The free lecture, which will take place in room 1400 of Guttenberg Information Technologies Center (GITC), located on the NJIT campus, at the intersection of Lock Street and Central Avenue, Newark, is open to the public. Parking is available on the street.
(NOTE: Media interested in attending this event, contact Sheryl Weinstein, 973-596-3433, to arrange for parking and receive directions to the university.)
The topic of his talk will be the relationship between science, technology and the government. The subject will be of interest not only to future scientists and professors on campus, but also to businessmen and anyone else interested in how science research is currently funded in the US, says David Reibstein, Ph.D., associate dean of the Dorman Honors College at NJIT.
The Dorman Honors College is the sponsor of the lecture. The College, founded in 1985, now enrolls more than 500 students who are offered special classes, seminars and colloquia by distinguished professors and others.
Born in West Virginia, Holt inherited his interest in politics from his parents. His father was the youngest person ever to be elected to the U.S. Senate, at age 29. His mother served as Secretary of State of West Virginia and remains the only woman to have held that position.
An active member of Congress and a strong voice for his constituents, Rep. Holt serves on two congressional committees, including the Committee on Education and the Workforce and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Holt is the only scientist and only member from the New Jersey delegation to sit on the Intelligence Committee. Holt is well regarded by his colleagues who have appointed him to the leadership as an at-large whip. He has also had the honor to serve on the National Commission on Mathematics and Science Teaching for the 21st Century chaired by former Senator and astronaut John Glenn and currently sits on several caucuses, including those on Renewable Energy, Sustainable Development, Alzheimer’s, Diabetes, Biomedical Research, India and Indian-Americans, Hellenic and Greek-American affairs, Farmland Protection, Human Rights, and a Woman’s Right to Choose. Rep. Holt is also a member of the New Democrat Coalition.
In only a short time, Rep. Holt has won several significant victories in Washington. He helped secure more than $700 million in new federal funding for science and technology research. He passed an amendment to the Land and Water Conservation Fund providing millions in funding for protecting open space and he was instrumental in adding the lower Delaware River to the National Wild and Scenic River program. He also initiated a federal study to map the gene sequences of all potential biological weapons to help first-responders and law enforcement react more effectively in the event of biological attack and he commissioned a Congressional investigation into the care at 91 nursing homes in New Jersey following up on reports of negligence.
Rep. Holt has brought significant federal resources to New Jersey. He helped secure $5.6 million for security improvements at the Naval Weapons Station Earle in Monmouth County, $2 million to establish a Land Use Municipal Resource Center to help local communities fight sprawl, and $500,000 for Hunterdon Medical Center to improve its emergency room facilities. Holt has also helped secure more than a hundred million dollars to improve roads, build libraries, and protect historic sites in the five counties he represents.
Rep. Holt has received numerous awards and citations for his work, including the Planned Parenthood Community Service Award, the Biotech Legislator of the Year, and the Science Coalition’s Champion of Science award. The magazine Scientific-American has also named Holt one of the 50 national visionaries contributing to a brighter technological future. Throughout Holt’s district, the former scientist, has developed a reputation as a tireless advocate for his constituents. He has opened more than five thousand formal investigations on behalf of constituents who have contacted his office. He has also made hundreds of school visits and held dozens of town meetings and forums on topics such as homeland security, alternative energy, economic growth, prescription drugs, student aid, privacy, long-term care, and sprawl.
Rep. Holt earned his B.A. in physics from Carleton College in Minnesota and completed his Master’s and Ph.D. at NYU. He has held positions as a teacher, Congressional Science Fellow, and arms control expert at the U.S. State Department where he monitored the nuclear programs of countries such as Iraq, Iran, North Korea, and the former Soviet Union. From 1989 until he launched his 1998 congressional campaign, Holt was Assistant Director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, the largest research facility of Princeton University and the largest center for research in alternative energy in New Jersey. He has conducted extensive research on alternative energy and has his own patent for a solar energy device. Holt was also a five-time winner of the game show “Jeopardy.”
Rep. Holt is married to Margaret Lancefield, a physician and Medical Director of the Princeton charity care clinic. They have three grown children, Michael, Dejan and Rachel, and four grandchildren, Noah, Niala, Boaz, and Varun.