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Nancy Goroff, a chemistry professor at Stony Brook University, would seem an unlikely candidate for Congress.
A graduate of Harvard University who later received her doctorate at UCLA and did post-doctoral studies at both the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, she has been on the faculty of Long Island’s top public university for more than 20 years, where she has overseen research on solar applications for various types of carbon materials.
But Dr. Goroff, 52, who was born and raised in Oak Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, said her family was “always politically engaged.” Her mother was active in local campaigns and her uncle found himself on former President Richard Nixon’s enemies list for, among other things, fighting to improve the water quality of Lake Michigan.
“Some of my earliest memories are of Watergate,” she said. “And the first campaign I worked on was the Anderson presidential campaign in 1980 when I was 12 years old.” The campaign of John Anderson, a moderate Republican who ran against President Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan as an independent, taught her that third-party candidates were probably not a good idea, she said.
A longtime member of the Union of Concerned Scientists, which advocates for the reliance on sound scientific data in shaping public policy, Dr. Goroff said she has personally lobbied members of Congress about topics ranging from clean energy policy to climate change [more]