As a meteorology student at a Pennsylvania college, Matthew Stepp didn’t aspire to be a TV weatherman but he loved the research on the forces of nature. “I was always a science nerd,” he said.
He went on to earn a master’s degree in science, technology, and public policy at the Rochester Institute of Technology, and just five years after graduation, Stepp, 29, has become the leader of Washington’s newest think tank, the Center for Clean Energy Innovation.
Housed at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, the center is unique among research organizations in the capital. “We’re the only one directly focused on energy-innovation policy,” Stepp said.
The goal is to address climate change by advocating for government policies that encourage development of low-carbon technologies. In doing so, the center will be “technology-neutral,” Stepp said, meaning it will look for ways to generally promote innovation in the energy world.
“We want to see the same kind of technology development for clean energy as we saw with fracking,” he said, referring to the advancements in drilling techniques that led to the current U.S. oil and gas boom.
Among the subjects the center will address are American research and development programs, tax policy, trade issues, science and math education, and advanced manufacturing. It plans to put out its first report in late March or early April offering policymakers an agenda for action on clean-energy development, Stepp said.
Stepp, a Philadelphia native, finished his master’s in 2009 and landed a fellowship at the National Academy of Sciences assisting the Transportation Research Board. He later moved to the Breakthrough Institute, where he worked on green-energy issues, before moving to the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation in 2010 as an energy policy analyst.
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Since the release of the Access Hollywood tape, on which Donald Trump boasted of sexually assaulting women, "Senate Republicans have seen their fortunes dip, particularly in states like Florida, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada and Pennsylvania," where Hillary Clinton now leads. Jennifer Duffy writes that she now expects Democrats to gain five to seven seats—enough to regain control of the chamber.
"Of the Senate seats in the Toss Up column, Trump only leads in Indiana and Missouri where both Republicans are running a few points behind him. ... History shows that races in the Toss Up column never split down the middle; one party tends to win the lion’s share of them."
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Former Illinois GOP Congressman Aaron Schock "recently agreed to pay a $10,000 fine for making an excessive solicitation for a super PAC that was active in his home state of Illinois four years ago." Schock resigned from Congress after a story about his Downton Abbey-themed congressional office raised questions about how he was using taxpayer dollars.
If you need a marker for how confident Hillary Clinton is at this point of the race, here's one: CNN's Jeff Zeleny reports "she's been talking to Republican senators, old allies and new, saying that she is willing to work with them and govern."