Food Activists Name Only Dems As ‘Champions’ in ‘Non-Partisan’ Congressional Scorecard

By Penny Starr | October 24, 2012 | 4:06pm EDT

Celebrity 'Top Chef' Judge Tom Colicchio spoke on Oct. 24, 2012 in Washington, D.C. at the launch of the Food Policy Action group. ( Starr)

( – The founders of the new Food Policy Action group used National Food Day on Wednesday to launch a new website to “score” members of Congress on their votes on issues ranging from organic gardening and environmental regulations to animal and workers rights and named all Democrats as “champions” in those ratings.

All 50 House and Senate members who received perfect 100 percent scores were Democrats.

A press release announcing the new website states that “prominent members of the House and Senate who received very low scores include House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.).”

Founding member and celebrity “Top Chef” judge Tom Colicchio told the crowd of reporters and others gathered for the announcement at a restaurant in Washington, D.C., that FPA was not “partisan at all.”

“Happy Food Day,” Colicchio said. “I was really happy to join the Food Policy Action, but also what I really enjoyed about it and liked about it is it didn’t appear partisan at all.

Colicchio said that in conversations leading up to the formation and launch of the scoreboard, “it was very clear we wanted to make this as fair as possible.”

“And quite frankly, I don’t think this is about politics,” he said. “This is about values,” ranging from valuing the earth to making sure no one goes hungry in the United States.

“In this political season, when food policy has become a political football – from anti-hunger programs like food stamps to fledgling efforts to make school lunches healthier – the National Food Policy scorecard is a vital tool for voters,” Ken Cook, founding president of Food Policy Action and president of the Environmental Working Group, said in announcing the project.

“Until now, consumers have been voting with their pocketbooks to demand safe and affordable food that is produced without harming the environment or treating animals inhumanely,” Cook added.

“Now, they can actually vote for lawmakers who have stood with them, not with big food or industrial agriculture,” Cook said.

The scoreboard is based on 32 floor votes – 18 in the Senate and 14 in the House. The legislation scored by FPA included a bill in the House to allow the EPA to regulate “farm dust,” which it favors, and a bill to cut Women, Infant and Children (WIC) funding for breast feeding, which it opposes.

In the Senate, FPA favored legislation to end ethanol subsidies and opposed cutting conservation funding.

FPA’s explanation of how lawmakers fared on its scorecard included the average scores for lawmakers and noted the GOP lawmakers who had “higher than average scores.”

“The average score for Senate lawmakers was 58 percent, while the average score for House lawmakers was 57 percent,” the website stated.

“Many GOP lawmakers had higher than average scores, including Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Reps. Jon Runyan, Frank LoBiondo and Chris Smith of New Jersey, Reps. Chris Gibson and Richard Hanna of New York, Reps. Jaime Herrera and Dave Reichert of Washington State, Reps. Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, Charles Bass of New Hampshire, Frank Wolf of Virginia, Robert Dold of Illinois and Erik Paulsen of Minnesota,” the website stated.

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