If someone had ever suggested that this would be my life’s work when I was growing up in Texas, I would have laughed. As a kid, I wanted to be an architect. I was good at math. Then I went to business school and made plans to enter the finance industry. I went to work as an equity analyst on an investment team that managed billions in assets.
When our children got sick, none of it mattered, and I threw myself into protecting the health of children.
The early years of this work were so isolating that I can’t think of them and not physically remember how hard it was. It was stripping. But quitting wasn’t an option. I had learned information about our food that I couldn’t unlearn: mainly, that the United States was one of the only developed countries in the world to introduce new ingredients into its food system without informing its citizens. I also learned that our American food companies were making their products without these controversial new ingredients for families in other countries.
I could not unlearn that double standard. It challenged almost everything that I believed in.
It redefined friendships, and in that space, friends came into my life that I hope to never lose.
Fast forward, almost nine years later, and here we are on the eve of an election to label genetically engineered ingredients in our food, led by initiatives in Colorado and Oregon. Twenty eight states have introduced GMO labeling initiatives. These collective groups have brought the issue to the public. An extraordinary national team whose talents reach across industries.
To be part of such a patriotic and historic movement is inspiring.
I have no idea how tomorrow is going to shake out. I have entertained the thought: What if we win? What if a scrappy, love-fueled campaign can defeat an industry-funded $15 million one? But I truly believe that no matter what the election results are, we have already won.
We changed the conversation. A scrappy little, passionate campaign of brilliant minds forced multi-billion dollar corporations to change the way they play. We captured their shenanigans and highlighted their mistruths. We called them out when they lied, and we held together as they attacked. And we had fun. Perhaps that was the reason that so many people around the country asked: Can I vote on this? They saw what we were doing and wanted to be part of it.
We heard from moms overseas to dads in California. People sent material to us, cartoons, videos, and invited us to share our work on their sites. People we had never met from around the country cheered us on every step of the way.
There was a solidarity in it, a revolutionary patriotism that I have never felt before, and it meant a lot to all of us to be part of it.
As the campaign comes to a close and we head to the polls, it can’t pass without saying thank you. Thank you to those who have gone before us in California, Washington state, Vermont, Maine and Connecticut. We would not be where we are today without your work.
Thank you to those around the country and around the world that cheered us on.
To those that are coming after us, stand on our shoulders. We will lend our talents and expertise to your campaigns.
And to the food companies, let the chemical industry stand alone. You already label genetically engineered ingredients or make your products without them overseas. It will become increasingly hard to justify your position to your shareholders, because your shareholders have family members battling these conditions, too.
Our country is dealing with record rates of chronic conditions like allergies, autism, diabetes and now cancer. People want to know what they are eating.
Perhaps that is why it felt so patriotic: we are not one state fighting for the right to know what is in our food, we are one country. And as we work towards achieving this fundamental human right that has already been afforded to all of our key trading partners by our very own American companies, we will do it ever mindful of our future here.
Our children’s health is the foundation for the health of our country. It is in our hands to protect it, and love is a rocket fuel.
There is nothing more beautiful or patriotic that we could be doing.
Thank you to everyone around the country and around the world who joined us in this effort.
Yes on 105.