Washington — Nearly 20 confectioners from six states met with Congressional representatives on Capitol Hill last week to encourage them to support sugar reform.
Ford Gum & Machine Co., Inc.’s George Stege, Blommer Chocolate Co.’s Peter Blommer and other industry leaders attended more than 80 meetings during the NCA-hosted fly-in, held in anticipation of the House discussing sugar reform this week.
“A lot of the Congressmen we met with weren't aware at all of the sugar reform amendment,” Stege tells Candy & Snack TODAY. “New York for example doesn't really have a lot of farm issues, so they may not be paying attention to amendments to the Farm Bill [such as sugar reform]. But if you mention a candy company to them or any of the things sugar is a part of like bread, cakes and pasta, that's a very persuasive tool.”
He continues: “Sugar growers are only in 19 districts, but sugar-users are in a lot more.”
Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Dave Reichart (R-Wa.) were among the politicians present at the event.
“The fly-ins were a great success. Confectioners covered a lot of ground and as a result of their hard work we are up 85 co-sponsors on the Sugar Reform Act and growing,” NCA Vice-President of Government Affairs Liz Clark says. “Their presence here at this time was critical, as the opposition was canvassing the hill this week as well. The vote remains to be seen but we definitely garnered some new support last week.”
Earlier this month, the Senate rejected an amendment to reform the U.S. sugar policy, which includes a price support program the industry claims distorts the market and drives business overseas, where sugar prices are up to 92 percent cheaper, according to economists.