Food Policy Action Announces Targets for 2016 Election

FPA releases polling and targets to defeat incumbents Blum, Garrett and Valadao on food issues

Washington, D.C. – Today, Food Policy Action, an organization dedicated to educating the public about the votes their elected leaders take on critically important food issues, announced that Congressmen Rod Blum (IA-01), Scott Garrett (NJ-05), and David Valadao (CA-21) will be the group’s top targets for defeat in the 2016 campaign cycle. The organization will devote significant resources in these races as part of a larger half-million dollar effort to hold elected officials accountable for their votes on food policy.

“We know that food is political, and Food Policy Action is targeting races across the country to once again show that food can matter in elections,” said Tom Colicchio, Food Policy Action Co-Founder, food advocate and chef. “We’re letting voters in these districts know that these incumbents are serving them rotten food policies. We are targeting these three races because of the incumbents’ demonstrated voting records against good food policy.”

FPA worked with Lake Research Partners on a poll for Iowa’s 1st Congressional District. The results found the race to be nearly evenly divided with 48 percent of voters supporting Republican Rod Blum and 46 percent supporting Democrat Monica Vernon. After voters heard statements on Monica Vernon’s positions on important food safety net programs and Rod Blum’s record against better food policy, the race shifts to 48 percent support for Vernon and 45 percent support for Blum.  Vernon increases her margins most notably among women under 50.

FPA also recently sponsored a poll with the Humane Society Legislative Fund that was conducted by the Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group. The results found the New Jersey 5th Congressional race to be in a dead heat, and when voters were asked open-ended questions on Garrett including his stances on food safety and lack of action on reducing the misuse of antibiotics, they said they felt more negative about the incumbent.

“Americans across the country want their elected officials to support a food system that promotes nutrition, food safety, and ending hunger – the polling clearly demonstrates it,” said Celinda Lake, President and CEO of Lake Research Partners. “Our polling showed Iowa’s 1st Congressional District to be a very close contest, but it also showed that nutrition matters to people, and that it helps Monica Vernon to show that she will stand up to protect Iowa’s most vulnerable seniors and children who depend on food and nutrition assistance programs. 56 percent of voters find that convincing, and support for Vernon flips from being down two points to up three points.”

“In New Jersey’s 5th Congressional District, voters have serious doubts about Congressman Scott Garret’s cuts that leave 2 million American families hungry every month. We’ve seen this in past elections too. In 2014, we saw key targets like unmarried women move toward food-friendly candidates when we reminded them that incumbents voted to cut nutrition support to children, seniors, and veterans.”

“We want to make a difference because ultimately, having good food champions in Congress will change food policy for the better,” said Ken Cook, Food Policy Action Board Chairman and Co-Founder. “I cannot say it enough; food matters in elections. The food movement is just getting started, and Reps. Blum, Garrett and Valadao need to understand that there are consequences to voting on the wrong side of food safety, security, and nutrition. We plan to arm voters in these districts who care about these issues — and want to help fix our out of balance food system— to become active over the next six weeks to elect Monica Vernon in Iowa, Josh Gottheimer in New Jersey, and Emilio Huerta in California.”

In addition to IA-1 and NJ-5, FPA is also targeting CA-21 between Republican incumbent David Valadao and challenger Emilio Huerta. Valadao has voted for and championed initiatives that would roll back nutrition standards and cut programs which ensure our children, seniors and veterans have enough to eat. Huerta has been a fighter for conservation, food and farm workers and making sure that our most vulnerable have enough to eat. We are optimistic that voters in this central valley district will support Huerta, who will better represent their values in Washington.

About Food Policy Action: Food Policy Action was established in 2012 through a collaboration of national food policy leaders in order to hold legislators accountable on votes that have an effect on food and farming and to educate the public with objective information on how the United States Congress votes on a full range of food policy issues, which vitally influence our health, economy and the environment. Our goal is to change the national dialogue on food policy by educating the public on how elected officials are voting on these issues. Through education and the National Food Policy Scorecard, more people will be armed with the information they need to advocate for sound food policy and vote with their forks to elect more food policy leaders across the country.

Endorsements and ads are made and paid for by Food Policy Action,, and  not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

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