Stenholm has served on the Agriculture Committee since he came to Washington in 1979 and as its Ranking Democrat since the 105th Congress. There, he focuses on expanding agricultural world trade, streamlining the agricultural bureaucracy, boosting agricultural research and promoting the needs of agriculture producers and consumers. For many years, he has been the architect of major bipartisan compromises regarding the federal budget and especially food and agriculture matters. He has been an advocate for agricultural research and a strong leader in every food safety issue regarding meat and poultry, as well as pesticide regulation.
Smith, while only in his ninth year in Congress, serves on both the House Agriculture and Science Committees. As Chairman of the Science Committee’s Basic Research Subcommittee, he released a report entitled Seeds of Opportunity, examining issues related to agricultural biotechnology and its products. The report was the culmination of a series of subcommittee hearings and visits with scientists and to research facilities across the country
and underscores his belief in biotechnology’s potential to enhance nutrition and health, feed a growing world population, and help protect the environment. In addition, he has introduced legislation to establish regional plant genome and gene expression research and development centers.
With the opening of its Washington, D.C., office, in October 2000, IFT established the Congressional award program to publicly recognize the commitment and contributions of legislators to science-based food policies and programs, as well as to raise the visibility of the Institute. Last year, IFT honored U.S. Senators Thad Cochran of Mississippi and Richard Durbin of Illinois with the inaugural presentation of the award.
By honoring policymakers who advocate science-based food policies and programs, the Congressional Support for Science Award program supports IFT’s long-range goal of being “a leading advocate for science on food-related issues.” And through a combination of once-a-year, high-profile, first-class events like the award reception, regularly issued “state-of-the-science” documents like the IFT Expert Reports, and our daily meetings and activities around town, IFT is becoming an important member of the Washington, D.C., community and an effective advocate for food science and technology.
by STEPHANIE A. SMITH
Director, Dept. of Science and Government Relations