President’s Letter

New Congress, New Challenges: Get Involved

Earlier this month, we went to the polls and cast our ballots for Congress and other state and local offices in an exceedingly difficult environment. It was a difficult campaign for many candidates, particularly incumbents, and now a new Congress will take office in January.
There is much at stake for snack food companies and the men and women who depend on us for their livelihoods. And now we will be working with a new Congress in a more difficult environment than has been the case for the past several years.
Certainly, that offers challenges as we go about the business of representing our industry. It means that we must work harder than ever and join together like never before if we are to succeed on the many important issues that lie ahead.
In the new year, with a new Congress, we will be renewing our push for approval of national uniformity legislation, an initiative that gained strength this year, but failed to win final Congressional approval. Our goal is to achieve uniform federal food labeling regulations based on science and fact so that companies no longer will be faced with a myriad of state and local rules that often conflict, confound and confuse those who must abide by them. It’s important to our industry, and I urge every member to join in the drive to get this initiative signed into law.
We’ll be working once again for other important initiatives, including elimination of the death tax, important to the many small businesses and entrepreneurs in our industry. And, we’ll be pushing for approval of legislation to prevent crazy, unreasonable lawsuits by people who want to blame food companies because they can’t control their own behavior when it comes to eating fattening food.
The new Congress also will be considering a new Farm Bill, a massive undertaking that covers much more than agriculture issues. Included will be language governing the Food Stamp; Women, Infant and Children (WIC); and other federal feeding programs. We expect an effort by some to define “good food” and further restrict products based on nutritional values that can be included in these programs. Needless to say, we will be working hard to defend the snack food industry as this debate moves ahead.
I’ve discussed only a few of the important actions that will be considered by this new Congress over the next two years. There will be many more, and there is no telling what new initiatives will emerge as a result of the changes caused by the election.
Thus, it is more important than ever for SFA members to support our government affairs and political action efforts, to respond when we ask for help on specific issues when needed, and to participate in our Day in D.C. Spring Summit next May.
But there is more you can do. Get involved. Get to know your representatives. Invite them to visit your plant, meet your people, and understand what you are doing and how it benefits the community that they represent. If you do that, if you establish such a relationship, it will be much easier to ask for their help when important issues arise.
We have challenges ahead as we look forward to working with our new Congress over the next two years. I urge every snack food industry executive and employee to participate and help protect our companies and the jobs that they provide.
Jim McCarthy
President & CEO