by Marion Nestle
Dec 11 2013

Food Policy Action releases handy Congress “scorecard” on food issues

Washington is such a mess that you can’t tell the players without a scorecard, and this one is really useful.

Food Policy Action to the rescue.

Food Policy Action is a project of the Environmental Working Group.  Ken Cook of EWG is its chair.  Tom Colicchio is listed as the first board member.

The 2013 National Food Policy Scorecard ranks each member of the Senate and House on their votes on food issues.

The interactive map lets you click on a state and see how our congressional representatives are voting.  According to the scorecard, 87 members are Good Food Champions.  We need more!

I looked up New York.  Senator Charles Schumer gets a perfect 100%.  Yes!

But Senator Kirsten Gillibrand only gets 67%.

How come?  Click on her name and the site lists her votes on key legislation.  Oops.  She voted against GMO labeling and against a key farm bill amendment on crop insurance.  If you click on the button, you get to learn more about this vote and the legislation.

This kind of information is hard to come by.  Food Policy Action’s scorecard is easy to use and performs a terrific public service.

Thanks to everyone responsible for it.

  • Nate Wilson

    I am a retired upstate N.Y. dairy farmer, ( 40 years experience) currently writing on farm issues for a monthly national dairy publication, The Milkweed. Much of my output is focused on Washington, D.C. and Congress. I am well aware of Sen. Gillibrand’s efforts on behalf of her state’s dairy farmers. She is the first N. Y. Senator to sit on the Senate Ag. Comm. in over 40 years; an assignment she actively pursued. I can say, generally, Sen. Gillibrand is well respected by upstate dairy farmers, albeit most are “rock-ribbed” Republicans. Sen. Gillibrand has a first-class mind focused on real solutions. She recognizes the fundamental flaw in farm milk pricing as being the the USDA Milk Price Formula, based on the corrupt and manipulated cheese trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. She has the courage to speak to the issue and seek reform. In stark contrast, Sen. Schumer is viewed by upstate dairymen for what he is: “Cheesy Chuck,” a political hack, blatant opportunist and all around bad joke. Unlike Schumer, Sen. Gillibrand is focused on acting in the best interests of her constituents, not sound-bites and photo-ops.

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  • Lorraine Lewandrowski

    This ranking of Senator Gillibrand seems very unfair. Gillibrand is one Senator who has won the respect of a wide variety of rural New Yorkers for her tireless travel throughout the state. She has held meetings out in my part of the state at Herkimer County Community College, where all farmers were invited to give input on the farm bill. And, Senator Gillibrand spoke to enthusiastic farmers about a New York City where a food movement might possibly be more interested in the New York Foodshed. (Contrast this with the past where NYC food groups worked to smash collective bargaining for farmers, demanding cheaper milk out of rural NY).
    It seems that her voice is one of the few who seeks to educate, share info, collaborate for a better New York for all of us. I urge readers not to be sucked into numerical rankings that do not reflect the character and thoughtfulness of Senator Gillibrand.

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