William Bliss

William Bliss
William Bliss

I am 63 years old, a retired physicist and scientific software designer. As I look back at my life I am forced to recognize the exceptionally privileged life I automatically received as an educated white male born in the United States, and the enormous advantages I subsequently received (and often squandered) throughout my life, I am saddened by the huge percentage of my neighbors who never experienced the same unearned luck which seemed to always bestow the trail which has been my life.

Today, I find myself driven, and though it sounds corny to speak of one's love for mankind, or one's pride in our nascent civilization, I would be remiss if I failed to mention my core motivations. That pride in what mankind has accomplished using the tools of science, and those dreams for what mankind might someday become, and also too those fears of how it could all be destroyed, have been the driving emotive forces throughout my life. I believe science is the true foundation of Earthly civilization and without it mankind would still be living like "cavemen". I also believe that science used blindly or selfishly can do great harm to our collective future, it could even even prevent our future. This is why I have spent my life studying science and the existential threats to mankind.

Like so many others my age, am a child of the Apollo era. By the age of 10, I had fallen in love with science, engineering, technology and the fulfillment of the promise of science. Two years later, when my father died from a brain tumor, I learned about what science cannot yet do for us, I learned a little about philosophy and a lot about empathy. I was lucky to grow up surrounded by strong women, especially my mother who worked through her grief by completing a Masters in Psychology and working as a high school counselor and a leader in the dyslexia education movement.

I went into physics and worked in the theory department of a particle accelerator. My primary research was to design algorithms for modeling the optics and intensity of an ultra high energy electron beam. From this I learned to love the art of crafting scientific software which soon became my primary occupation of fate.

I have wonderful memories of visiting a far more pristine Florida back in the 1960's. This led my wife, Patricia, and I to move to Florida, 25 years ago, and we have had the pleasure of living in five diverse communities across the state before settling down in beautiful Daytona Beach, in 2012. 

As a scientist, I always remained rather politically neutral, thinking that both major parties demonstrated a bad tendency to ignore science for political expediency even when it hurt the general public. In 2015 a colleague introduced me to Senator Bernie Sanders' campaign for the Presidency and I quickly noticed that he was the first candidate I ever saw whose (almost) entire political platform was designed by scientists and economists.

As the Republican Party increasingly positioned itself to appeal to believers and promoters of anti-science, I decided that political neutrality is the equivalent to ignoring morality. I chose to get involved in politics because I believe society's trust and respect for science needs to be restored. I believe scientists must take a stronger stand against the libelous attacks being served up against routinely observed facts.

I organized the first Volusia County chapter of the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida because I feel the definition of a progressive is someone who recognizes that civilizations do change, can change towards good or bad, and therefore seek out and listen to actual recognized experts and then bring their advice to the people. I feel that society is not progressing and improving as quickly as it could, for many reasons including a lack of this progressivism.

Over the years, I have become adept at recognizing true experts and learning from them. As a candidate, and soon as a member of Volusia's first Sustainability Council, my pledge is to find the experts needed to solve our county's problems, unite them into an effective collaborative problem solving body, and return Volusia to the cleaner, healthier and more vibrant county she was and can be again.