Tom Cormier of Ahold USA to Receive 2016 Good Government Award

Food Council PAC to Honor Legislators and NJ Health Commissioner at Annual Good Government Breakfast

Cormier 1The Food Council Committee for Good Government (FCCfGG) will recognize Tom Cormier of Ahold USA as the recipient of the
2016 Good Government Award at its annual Good Government Breakfast on September 28th at Forsgate Country Club in Monroe Township, New Jersey.

Presented annually to an industry leader who demonstrates excellence in public affairs advocacy, the Good Government Award is the most prestigious public policy recognition bestowed on a New Jersey food industry member.

“Tom regularly volunteers his time, expertise and experience with numerous issues facing our industry,” said NJFC President & CEO Linda Doherty. “He frequently travels to meetings all over the state to share that experience directly with legislators and provide support for our policy efforts.”

“Legislators, opinion makers and political leaders cannot evaluate the impact of every piece of legislation and regulation on the food industry unless we share with them our views and our unique knowledge and expertise on the issues,” Doherty continued.  “Tom uniquely understands the impact that advocacy and political action have in fostering good government policies that support the food industry.”

Tom has 33 years of experience in the food retail industry and currently serves as Director of Government Affairs for Ahold USA, which operates supermarkets in 12 states as well as on-line grocery home delivery businesses, such as Peapod for Stop and Shop.  Tom is active with a number of state and national trade associations and business groups, including the Food Marketing Association and the National Retail Federation, which advocate on behalf of the retail food industry.  Tom lives in Glenelg, Maryland with his wife, Kathy, and their two sons, Kyle and Branden.

The FCCfGG will also honor Senator Jeff Van Drew (D-1) and Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli (R-16) as Legislators of the Year for their efforts in support of the New Jersey food industry. Additionally, New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Cathleen Bennett will be presented with the Thomas W. Kelly Government Service Award.

vandrew_color“Senator Van Drew and Assemblyman Ciattarelli have both been strong advocates for the food industry in Trenton, supporting policies that help grow our businesses while opposing harmful tax increases,” said Doherty.  “Now more than ever, it is extremely critical that we have strong allies on both sides of the aisle like Jeff and Jack, ensuring the voice of the food industry is heard in Trenton.”

Senator Jeff VanDrew is in his third term in representing the first Legislative District which includes Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland Counties in the New Jersey State Senate. Over the last 3 years, Senator Van Drew boasts the top legislative score of any New Jersey Democrat on issues important to our industry according to FCCfGG’s internal scorecard.  In fact, this year Senator Van Drew was one of only a handful of Democrats in Trenton to break with his party and oppose a $15 minimum hourly wage.

ciattarelli_color In 2011, Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli was elected to represent the 16th Legislative District in the General Assembly in a district that includes towns in Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset Councies.  Since he first entered the Legislature, Assemblyman Ciattarelli has been an ally of the food industry, and to the business community overall, sponsoring multiple bills supported by the Food Council and accumulating one of the highest overall legislator scores on the annual FCCfGG internal scorecard. Last session, Assemblyman Ciattarelli worked with the Food Council and our other coalition members to advocate for a State Legislative Resolution in support of a national standard for GMO labeling rather than onerous and confusing state standards.

Additionally, FCCfGG will present New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Cathleen Bennett with the Thomas W. Kelly Government Service Award.  The award is named after the Food Council’s former colleague, the late Tom Kelly, who served in state government as the Superintendent of Weights and Measures before joining the Food Council.

“We’re pleased to recognize Commissioner Bennett with the 201commiss_acting6 Thomas W. Kelly Government Service Award,” said Doherty.  “Her insight into working with food retailers to further support WIC clients has been exceptional. We’re grateful to the Commissioner for her leadership, accessibility and understanding of the important role food stores play in keeping New Jersey communities healthy.”

Cathleen Bennett began serving as Commissioner of the Department of Health on August 3, 2015 after serving as Director of Policy and Strategic Planning since 2010.  As head of the Policy and Strategic Planning, she directed strategic public health and healthcare delivery initiatives.

 

About FCCfGG

Since its formation, the FCCfGG has been instrumental in promoting good relations between elected officials, candidates for office, and the food industry. NJFC members have the ability to learn about the ideas and opinions of their leaders and candidates on a number of issues which may impact their businesses, as well as communicate their views on important issues to the candidates for public office.

To register for the event, or for more information, please contact Kori Little-Buro at kburo@njfoodcouncil.com or by phone at 609-392-8899.

The New Jersey Food Council is the Garden State’s preeminent trade association representing 1,200 retail food stores, wholesalers, manufacturing and service companies that collectively employ more than 200,000 associates in NJ.  For more information, visit www.njfoodcouncil.com

2016-2017 Leadership Development Program Applications are Now Available!

Leadership Brochure CoverThe New Jersey Food Council launched a Food Council Leadership Development Program two years ago.  This was a new program for future leaders who have a passion for working in the food industry, possess an interest in the dynamics and trends of government, and who want to make a difference in the direction of this industry.  This program combines elements of mentoring, organizational education, leadership training, policy trends, and guided experiences.

The current class is scheduled to graduate at the Good Government Breakfast which will be held at 8:30 a.m. at the Forsgate Country Club, Monroe Township, NJ on September 28.

We are now accepting applications for the 2016-2017 program.  The brochure and nomination form can be downloaded here.  If you are interested or would like to nominate someone to participate in this program, please forward the completed nomination form to the New Jersey Food Council, 30 W. Lafayette Street, Trenton, NJ, 08608, njfc@njfoodcouncil.com or fax it to (609) 396-6571 by August 15, 2016.  PLEASE NOTE THAT THE NOMINEE MUST AGREE TO PARTICIPATE IN ALL ELEMENTS OF THE LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM AS NOTED IN THE PROGRAM OUTLINE (I.E. ATTEND ALL DESIGNATED MEETINGS, ETC.). 

If you have any questions, please call the office at (609) 392-8899.

NJFC President Linda Doherty Statement on $15 Minimum Wage

Linda Doherty, President and CEO of the New Jersey Food Council (NJFC) released the following statement after the Senate Labor Committee passed along party lines S-15, legislation which would increase the minimum wage in New Jersey by 79 percent to $15 an hour:

“New Jersey’s food retail and distribution industry employs almost 200,000 workers annually.  This proposed 79 percent minimum wage increase is a drastic rise in labor costs that will result in the loss of food industry jobs and hours worked, and higher prices for New Jersey consumers.

New Jersey’s food industry is shrinking and facing unprecedented competition from online retailers. Some food retailers have been unable to survive these industry challenges.

Economists John Dunham & Associates have conducted a comprehensive economic analysis of New Jersey’s food retail and distribution industry. The data shows that New Jersey has lagged behind national job growth, both in lower-skilled jobs and in total jobs, in almost every year the minimum wage was increased. Following the 2014 minimum wage increase, low wage job growth fell from 2.79 percent to 1.48 percent, a loss of -1.31 percent.

The data reveals a significant increase in the price of groceries and other essentials. The price tag of a $15 minimum wage in increased costs to consumers is nearly $280 million per year. Even more troubling is that seniors age 55 and above, many of whom are on fixed incomes, would bear 40 percent of these increased costs to the tune of nearly $124 million.  Basic necessities would cost more, such as toilet paper, which would increase by 19 percent.

Our stores are the anchor of almost every New Jersey community, and our industry has an impact on the health and wellness of every New Jersey resident. This forced increase will jeopardize new food retail investment and job growth, and will drastically raise prices for food and groceries for all New Jersey families.”

Release: NJ Food Council Awards Clean Communities Scholarship to Egg Harbor City Community School

Clean Communities 2Commending the school for its outstanding recycling and solid waste program, the New Jersey Food Council (NJFC) presented the annual Clean Communities Scholarship to Egg Harbor City Community School during the Clean Communities Awards Banquet in Atlantic City.  The $1,000 scholarship is presented annually to a school that demonstrates a strong commitment to environmental stewardship.
“The Egg Harbor City Community School has done an outstanding job of implementing a comprehensive recycling program over the past three years, and as a result, their program has become a national model for school solid waste initiatives,” said Linda Doherty, NJFC President and CEO.  “Most importantly, the program has fostered a positive attitude and culture of recycling throughout the school community.  Instilling the importance of recycling and litter prevention in these young students will have a positive impact on our environment for generations to come.”
Since 2013, the Egg Harbor City Community School has entered the Keep America Beautiful Recycle Bowl Challenge each year, winning the state championship in the first two years (2013 and 2014) and the national championship in the third year (2015).
Clean Communities 1Doherty noted that the successful recycling program involved both staff and students and was implemented in all aspects of the school environment — including classrooms, lunch rooms and school grounds.  As a result of the comprehensive program, students now regularly volunteer to monitor trash in the lunch rooms, while students in the afterschool programs perform regular cleanups of the school playground.  The school also joined the Teracycle program and now collects juice pouches to recycle.
New Jersey Clean Communities is a statewide, comprehensive, litter-abatement program created by the passage of the Clean Communities Act in 1986. Its mission is to reduce litter on public places, promote the volunteer cleanup of public lands and sustain a reduction in litter through education. New Jersey Clean Communities is also home to New Jersey’s Adopt-A-Beach and Adopt-A-Highway programs.
“The Food Council is a steadfast partner of the Clean Communities Program as our business association is one of the architects in establishing this anti-litter program almost 30 years ago.  We believe that supporting deserving school children helps reinforce a new generation who will support clean neighborhoods and a healthier environment”, said Doherty.

Release: NJFC “From Farm to Fork” Day Showcases Fruits of NJ Food Industry

Farm to Fork 1Showcasing the important contributions of the food industry in the Garden State, the New Jersey Food Council (NJFC) today joined the New Jersey Food Processors Association, the New Jersey Farm Bureau, and the New Jersey Restaurant and Hospitality Association in hosting the fifth annual “From Farm to Fork:  The Food Industry in the Garden State Serves You” at the State House in Trenton.

Throughout the day, key legislators and policy makers visited exhibits in the State House halls and taste-tested beverages and snacks from food retailers, including NJFC members Wegman’s Food Markets, Coca-Cola Refreshments USA, Kings Food Markets, Campbell Soup Company and Vitamin Paste as well as farmers, processors and suppliers.

Farm to Fork 2New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas Fisher kicked off the event in the morning by presenting a proclamation to the groups to recognize the work of the multi-billion-dollar food industry in the Garden State.

Additionally, Assemblyman Vincent Mazzeo (D-Atlantic) presented the four food industry organizations with a resolution in the Assembly Chambers.  The resolution, co-sponsored by Senator Jim Whelan (D-Atlantic), paid tribute to the food industry’s numerous contributions to the State of New Jersey.

“From farm to fork, New Jersey’s food industry is essential to the vitality of our economy, our communities and our residents, generating more than $105 billion each year and employing almost 600,000 workers,” said Linda Doherty, President and CEO of the NJFC.  “This event is an effective opportunity to showcase the latest food products and trends to New Jersey legislators and Administration officials.  It also serves an important reminder of the crucial role we play in the health and wellness of New Jersey’s communities and state economy.”

You can view more photos from the event here.