Prof's senate campaign hinges on realizing 'Equality State'

Ben-David, who is the current head of Zoology and Physiology department at the university, studies the impacts of climate change on arctic sea ice and polar bears.

Professor Merav Ben-David is the second Democrat to seek Sen. Enzi’s Seat.

A Wyoming professor is running as a Democrat to fill outgoing Republican Sen. Mike Enzi’s seat in the upcoming general election in November. Her platform includes addressing the “wage gap” and creating an “Equality State.”

University of Wyoming Zoology and Physiology professor Merav Ben-David, who is also the current head of the department, announced at the Women’s March in Cheyenne on Saturday that she will seek the Democratic party’s nomination for the Senate seat, according to the Casper Star-Tribune. Ben-David is the second candidate to seek the Democratic nomination for the general election.

Ben-David’s campaign website states that her platform would also include living up to be the “Equality State," Wyoming's nickname, by tackling issues such as “closing the wage gap, ending discrimination, and recognizing that healthcare is a human right.”

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Ben-David also promised to promote support for affordable higher education.

“The greatest threat to the future of Wyoming is climate change,” Ben-David proclaims on the website.

“Climate change may seem a bit distant here in Wyoming,” Ben-David told Campus Reform about her run for Senate. “We are not going to suffer from rising sea levels or many days of unbearable heat.”

Ben-David also warned that current efforts around the world to address the issue of climate change would have “detrimental consequences to our state’s economy because a large portion of our revenue is derived from extracting and selling fossil fuels.”

“Our goal for the future should be to diversify our economy by providing opportunities and high quality of life for people,” Ben-David wrote, “while protecting the open spaces and wildlife populations that we love."

Outside of her run for senate, as a professor at the university, she writes on her profile that her main areas of study include topics from animal behavior to ecosystem functions. 

Ben-David has also spoke extensively about climate change over the last few years, hosting presentations about the potential effects that it may bring.

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In 2015, Ben-David hosted a presentation for the Faculty Senate Speaker Series that studied the “social behaviors of river otters” and how climate change’s impacts on the fish ecosystem would lead to “declines in otter abundance and sociality.”

In 2017, Ben-David told CGTN that she blames what she called a loss of sea ice on the increased use of fossil fuels, which she said had caused a decline in the polar bear population. Her statement came in light of a study she conducted with the U.S. Geological Survey in June.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @JesseStiller3