A US District court ruling this week blocked federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, although the Justice Department is expected to appeal. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, the Democratic candidate for governor, hopes the decision will be overturned.
If it that doesn’t happen, Barrett says he’d do everything in his power as governor to keep stem cell research going in Wisconsin. He says that includes looking at opportunities for the state to support the industry.
Barrett says the field has brought many jobs to Wisconsin and the work needs to continue. For example, he points to the continued growth of stem cell research at the UW-Madison and at least eight companies that have moved to Wisconsin in recent years because of the work being done here.
The Republican candidates for governor, Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker and former Congressman Mark Neumann, have both said they oppose funding the research and believe the same work can be done using adult stem cells. Barrett says we shouldn’t just abandon work with embryonic stem cells though because of ideological differences. He says that could delay breakthroughs that help treat people suffering from serious medical conditions.
Barrett spoke in Middleton Wednesday at a biotechnology summit.