Food Policy Action releases 2015 Congressional scorecard
I went yesterday to the press conference for the release of the Food Policy Action 2015 Scorecard.
This was outdoors at Campos Community Garden in Manhattan’s East Village, attended by classes of schoolkids. The speakers:
- Tom Colicchio: co-founder of Food Policy Action (FPA) and owner of Crafted Hospitality
- Bill Telepan: executive chef of Wellness in the Schools (WITS) and chef/owner of Telepan
- Ken Cook: co-founder of Food Policy Action and president of Environmental Working Group (EWG)
Food Policy Action aims to improve national discussions of food policy issues by informing the public about how elected officials vote on these issues. Hence: the Scorecard.
As I discussed last year, points are awarded for votes on bills introduced or co-sponsored that deal with:
- Domestic and international hunger
- Food safety
- Food access
- Farm subsidies
- Animal welfare
- Food and farm labor
- Food additives
- Food transparency
- Local and regional food production
- The environmental effects of food production
In the Senate, for example, there were just 5 bills to be voted on an 10 that were co-sponsored (but not voted on). In the House, there were votes on 10 bills and 12 that were co-sponsored (no vote). This leaves lots of room for improvement, even among the best.
The speakers explained to the kids that the Scorecard gave grades to members of Congress, just like they get, and took them through a discussion of thumbs up and thumbs down appraisals of legislators’ votes on key food issues. Congress is doing a little better this year than last, they said, but still has a long way to go.
Those of us in New York are lucky. Both of our Senators, Kirsten Gillbrand and Charles Schumer scored 100.
Here are my reports on the Scorecards from 2013 and 2014. The Scorecard is a great first step in holding legislators accountable.