Get Active! Find a Town Hall Near You

Now more than ever it is imperative to be engaged and informed on the various issues facing our food system and the environment. Center for Food Safety strongly believes in active participation at all levels of government because we the people are who they serve. Fortunately for citizens of the United States, our elected officials regularly hold town hall meetings to address the concerns and needs of their constituents. These town hall meetings are especially valuable in our current political climate, as many people have had a hard time getting through to their representatives’ offices. We encourage you to take the opportunity to interact with your elected official, voice your very valuable concerns, and get answers to your questions. We know it can sometimes be intimidating to attend these meetings, let alone speak up and ask a question, so to make it easier for you we have created a handy and simple toolkit to help target your questions on issue areas that are of importance to you. An additional valuable resource is the Indivisible Guide, a guide intended to arm citizens with the tools and resources they need to hold their officials accountable and to the highest standards.

Town Hall Questions

Environmental Protection Agency
 

  1. Will you stop the Bill (HR 861) intended to dismantle the EPA? How?

  2. What will you do to keep Scott Pruitt’s conflict of interests out of his duty as EPA administrator?

  3. Scott Pruitt is an open denier of climate change and has now been chosen to run the EPA. What will you do to combat his efforts to stop the Clean Power Plan and his refusal to work on climate change mitigation?
     

 Factory Farming & Animal Welfare Standards
 

  1. How will you support the continued reduction in unnecessary uses of antibiotics in animal agriculture - an issue that many public health experts say is critical right now?

  2. Will you ensure industrial animal agriculture corporations are held accountable, as well as Pruitt and Perdue, when runoff from factory farms pollutes our communities and natural resources? How?

  3. Will you work to stop “ag gag” laws that severely hinder and criminalize a citizen’s ability to expose horrendous and dangerous food animal agriculture production conditions?
     

Farmworkers & Immigration
 

  1. Sonny Perdue, President Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Agriculture at the USDA, has a long history of racist and prejudicial policies against immigrants and migrant farmworkers. What will you do to uphold the civil liberties of the backbone of our food system and ensure that Sonny Perdue enhances the working conditions and rights of farmworkers in the United States?

  2. With the President’s new ban on refugees and immigrants, and his threats to deport millions of immigrants already living and working in the US, how will you address the decrease in our agricultural workforce?

  3. Will you support a path to citizenship for immigrant and refugee farmworkers?


Food & Climate
 

  1. Agriculture is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gases in the U.S. How will you hold the USDA accountable for providing farmers with the resources needed to combat and mitigate climate change?

  2. 97% of scientists believe climate change is happening and is manmade. In what ways will you ensure that actions are taken to combat climate change under an administration that is denying its presence?

  3. Will you oppose Trump’s plan to pull out of international climate agreements?
     

Food Safety
 

  1. Will you ensure the FDA upholds the highest food safety standards through the Food Safety Modernization Act, despite the President’s desire to cutback regulations?

  2. With 15% of food in the United States imported, will you support increases in food safety inspections despite the President’s desire to target the “food police”?

  3. Do you support the creation of a single food agency?

 

Genetically Engineered (GE) Food
 

  1. Do you support mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods?

  2. Will you move forward with the labeling law (S. 764) that passed in July of 2016 or will you try to put forth a more inclusive and encompassing bill? How?

  3. Do you support strict regulations of GE crops?
     

Mergers
 

  1. Will you publicly oppose the merger between Monsanto and Bayer, and other seed & chemical companies like them?

  2. In light of the ongoing efforts for multinational corporations, such as the agrochemical and seed giants Monsanto and Bayer, or Dow and DuPont, to merge - what will you do to protect seed sovereignty and prevent further damage to our environment from widespread pesticide use?

  3. How will your protect farmers from the fallout of these mergers?
     

Organic & Sustainable Agriculture
 

  1. Will you push forward the organic animal welfare standards? How?

  2. Will you support organic agriculture in Farm Bill 2018 by relieving the burden of cost for the organic certification and transition process for new organic farmers?

  3. What will you do to protect federal nutrition benefits (such as the supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP), the Women, Infant, and Children program (WIC), and school lunch under the Child Nutrition Act?
     

Pollinators & Pesticides
 

  1. How will you address the role of pesticides, specifically neonics, in bee declines?

  2. Will you address the role of glyphosate, the main chemical in Monsanto’s Roundup that has been declared a probable carcinogenic, in the decline of monarchs and how will you assist the EPA in placing limits on glyphosate use?

  3. Given the views of the USDA and EPA nominees on pesticides, how will you ensure communities are protected from pesticide exposure?


Trade
 

  1. How will you ensure ethical trade with the international community that protects workers?

  2. How will you protect the environment as NAFTA negotiations begin and as any new trade deals surface?

  3. How will you protect food safety regulations in renegotiated and new trade agreements?


Water & Dakota Access Pipeline
 

  1. How will you protect our access to clean water, especially as the President plans to rollback many regulations and provisions on critical acts like the Clean Water Act? Will you do everything to stop H.J.Res.36, which seeks to limit the Bureau of Land Management’s efforts to reduce the harmful impacts of waste from energy companies on our water and land resources?

  2. How will you help to stop and successfully defeat the Dakota Access Pipeline that is an attack on tribal and environmental rights?

  3. How will you address the nation’s aging water infrastructure and that ensure cities like Flint, Michigan have access to clean tap water?


Wildlife & Endangered Species Act
 

  1. Will you work to protect the Endangered Species Act from possible attacks from the new administration?

  2. How will you ensure that Rep. Zinke, Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Interior, does not allow for drilling on protected and public lands? Will you vote down H.J.Res.44?

  3. Rep. Zinke casted at least 21 votes against endangered species protections, what will you do to ensure he does not abuse his role as Secretary of Interior to dismantle the Endangered Species Act? How can you make sure we continue to protect our nation’s most vulnerable wildlife?

 

The crowd at a town-hall-style meeting with Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, Republican of Wisconsin, in Pewaukee, Wis., on Saturday. Credit: Lauren Justice for The New York Times

When you attend these meetings, you want to get the most out of your time and ensure you’re asking the right questions. Below are some important tips to remember when you go:
 

  • Don’t know who your members of Congress are? Look them up here.

  • Bring materials about the issues you care about to leave behind with your representative

  • If it's a seated event, sit near the front. It makes it more likely you'll get called on to ask a question.

  • Ask clear, direct questions and ask a follow up if your official tries to deflect and avoid your question

  • Research their stances on your issues beforehand so you don’t waste your questions on figuring out how they feel about an issue instead of what they will do about it

  • Feel comfortable asking questions about an unrelated topic even if the meeting has a specific theme to it
     

The Town Hall Project is keeping an up to date list of town hall meetings across the country that you can plug into. Find a town hall near you!