McAuliffe, Mann Encourage Science & Technology Innovation

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Michael Mann and Terry McAuliffe talk with Bill Walker, president of Hemosonics Michael Mann and Terry McAuliffe talk with Bill Walker, president of Hemosonics

A former UVA climate researcher, once the target of an investigation by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, is now actively campaigning against him in the race for governor. Michael Mann joined Democrat Terry McAuliffe in Charlottesville Monday to discuss scientific research and jobs in the commonwealth.

Touring a Charlottesville biotechnology startup Monday, McAuliffe maintained his message of job creation. He says embracing scientific research and technology is one way to move Virginia forward.

Charlottesville's Hemosonics is working on new technology to help diagnose blood clots faster - and save lives. It's science that started in academia and later morphed into the business world.

"I think there's the science community and then there's the entrepreneurship community, and they need different things," said Dr. Bill Walker, Hemosonics president and co-founder.

Walker says those things include tax credits for early investors, more matching grants from the state, and one other thing.

"Scientists need the chance to work without political interference," said Walker.

That's something Mann would know something about. A few years ago, he was at the center of an investigation by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who alleged Mann had fraudulently received research grants after manipulating his data on climate change. Virginia's Supreme Court later overruled Cuccinelli's demands.

"Any scientist studying climate change in his mind is engaged somehow in a fraud. I don't think that is a welcoming message for scientists," said Mann.

"We need to embrace science, we need to embrace technology and innovation, because that's how we're going to grow," said McAuliffe. 

McAuliffe believes supporting businesses like Hemosonics will keep Virginia's economy strong.

"We've got to have those jobs of the future. And what you see here today, these are the jobs of the future," said McAuliffe.

McAuliffe's campaign stops Monday with Mann sparked an outcry from Republicans, who say McAuliffe and other Democrats are out to destroy Virginia's coal industry.

In response to McAuliffe's visit, the Cuccinelli campaign said in an email to NBC29: 

"It is no surprise Terry McAuliffe is campaigning today with Michael Mann, a firm supporter of the McAuliffe/Biden/Obama War on Coal. McAuliffe's decision to invite Mann to campaign on his behalf is a clear indication that McAuliffe has not budged one inch from his stance that Virginia must move past coal and that as Governor he will not protect Virginia's coal industry and the tens of thousands of people who depend on it. The coal industry is not only a key part of the Commonwealth's heritage, it also supports billions in wages for hardworking families and billions in economic activity in Virginia."

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