By Samuel Lee
Princeton University plasma physicist and professor Andrew Zwicker unravels complex political issues with what he knows best: science. As the New Jersey General Assembly election in November quickly approaches, Zwicker said the scientific method will play a role in his campaign to represent the 16th District.
“I will promise to use evidence to make decisions because that’s what I do as a scientist,” the Democratic candidate said. The General Assembly is the lower house of New Jersey’s bicameral legislative body, and elections are held each odd-numbered year. If elected on Nov. 3, Zwicker could enact state laws and propose amendments to the state’s constitution.
He attributes his interests and ambitions in politics to his mentor and former U.S. Congressman Rush Holt, who is a major figure in the scientific community, Zwicker said.
“He has become my inspiration for this,” Zwicker said. “When he left [for Congress], he showed that scientists could be effective politicians and that’s when I wanted to do it.”
The scientific method emphasizes rigorous methodology and can truly be a political asset when dealing with complex issues, he said.
“New Jersey should be a leader in environmental issue[s], not a follower,” Zwicker said. “I really want to change the world by taking complicated problems and breaking [them] down.”
However, a politician can only do so much alone, and it is ultimately left to the people to make a difference in the world, he said.
“I want to make sure that my generation leaves the world a better place than we found it,” Zwicker said. “The best way to ensure the future of New Jersey is to not be passive, because when it comes down to it, it’s our country.”
He claimed that he stands out from other candidates in the election because he can relate to constituents, and present complicated issues in a coherent way.
“I don’t think there’s another candidate like me,” Zwicker said. “I think I am a communicator, and I understand all the issues we are talking about.”
When it comes to the 2016 presidential election, politicians should take national discussions and issues seriously rather than as a joke, he said.
“It’s a shame we have a political party that made such a mess of things when we should have serious debates,” Zwicker said. “I will vote for a Democrat no matter what.”
Though he is still considering his future political career, Zwicker believes that his highest priority right now is the well-being and prosperity of the state.
“I’m not going into this election as a stepping stone,” Zwicker said. “I want to do good here in New Jersey.”