Industry members were mostly pleased with the outcome of Tuesday's midterm election that resulted in Republicans taking control of the Senate, defeats of GMO labeling measures in Colorado and Oregon, and passage of a Wine in Grocery Stores initiative in 78 Tennessee municipalities.
In an email to members, the National Grocers Association said that Senate results including Republicans picking up seven seats (Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Montana, North Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia), with the possibility of another in Alaska, where ballots are still being counted, and one more in Louisiana, where a run-off will be held Dec. 6, were “arguably better for Republicans than anyone expected they would be."
"The GOP had a very good election night having picked up enough seats to take control of the Senate with at least 52 seats and that number could potentially grow as the Alaska, Virginia and Louisiana (run-off) races are settled. That being said, House and Senate Republicans, Democrats and the President will all need to work together to move the country forward,” Greg Ferrara, VP of public affairs for NGA, told SN. “In addition, NGA Grocers PAC supported candidates also had a good night as 25 out of 27 Grocers PAC supported House candidates won their elections and eight out of eight Grocers PAC supported Senate races were won."
While NGA said it was glad about the Republican victories, Jennifer Hatcher, SVP, government and public affairs for FMI, which takes a bipartisan approach, said she was surprised by the number of races Republicans won.
"Obviously pollsters had predicted that Republicans would likely gain control of the Senate, but by a very narrow margin, but as the still uncalled races start to trend even more in the Republican direction it looks like there may be a little more than the narrowest of margins," she said, "and then in the House, it looks at least at this point like the largest majority that Republicans have held since the Truman years. For the first time ever there are 100 women in the House, which is also a significant growth in that group."
The Grocery Manufacturers Association, which had been focused on two GMO labeling initiatives — Oregon's Measure 92 and Colorado's Proposition 105 — was glad that both measures were defeated.
"We're very pleased that voters in Colorado and Oregon rejected the mandatory GMO labeling proposals, and we continue to believe that a state-by-state patchwork of labeling laws would be damaging to the industry and costly to consumers," Mike Gruber, VP of government affairs for GMA, told SN.
In Hawaii, Maui voters approved a temporary ban on growing GMO crops, according to an AP story in the Huffington Post, that reported:
Maui County is home to just 160,000 residents, but the moratorium could have effects across the nation because multinational seed producers Monsanto Co. and Dow Chemical research and develop new varieties there.
In a victory for supermarkets in Tennessee, the Wine in Grocery Stores initiative was approved in all 78 municipalities that obtained enough signatures to put in on Tuesday's ballot.
“Voting results prove what we have known since we started this fight seven years ago: Tennesseans want to be able to buy wine where they buy food,” said Rob Ikard, president and CEO, Tennessee Grocers & Convenience Store Association.
As reported in SN, Berkeley, Calif., voters approved a penny-per-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, while San Francisco voters defeated a similar measure.
Chris Gindlesperger, senior director of public affairs for the association, told SN, “Berkeley is not representative of the rest of the country, and by no means does the vote there portend a trend. Since 2009, approximately 30 states and cities have tried and failed to pass soda taxes, and Berkeley is the lowest-hanging piece of fruit for soda-tax activists on their quest for discriminatory taxes.”
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