Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda

Florida House of Representatives

District 9


September 23, 2013
Representative Janet H. Adkins
313 House Office Building
402 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1300

Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of
body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.”
Thomas Jefferson


Dear Representative Adkins:

Welcome back to Tallahassee! As we roll up our sleeves to prepare for the 2014 session, I look forward to hearing about your summer back home and about your ideas to ensure a bright future for Florida.

We can agree as “we go forward together” into the 2014 session that although we’ll wrangle over a number of issues, liberty and freedom are the important principles we fight and stand for as Americans. Liberty, however, means nothing without the freedom to decide what is best for ourselves and our families. Freedom to make our own decisions means nothing without the right to know and discover truth. It is in this spirit that I request your co-sponsorship of House Bill #1.

Many of your constituents believe that without the knowledge and ability to make decisions about the very nourishment of their bodies and that of their families, there is no real liberty. House Bill #1 – Genetically Engineered (GE) Foods, known by a rapidly growing number of Floridians as the “Right to Know/Truth in Labeling Bill,” proposes simple and inexpensive labeling of GE food.

Our nation faces epidemics of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer; all diseases with a nutritional component as a preventer, cause, or cure. U.S. mortality rates compare poorly to many other industrialized nations. Americans are beginning to put a common sense focus on the food we eat, where it comes from, its nutritional value for optimal health and conversely the adverse effects of unhealthy food choices. This common sense focus will help us be healthier as individuals and strong as a nation.

Last year, my office received over 1,500 petitions from all over Florida requesting GE labeling legislation. At the time, I was not very familiar with the issue; that certainly changed in a hurry as I was pressed to file the GE “Right to Know/Truth in Labeling Bill” by one of the most diverse coalitions I could have imagined!

This resolute, well informed, and rapidly growing grassroots movement has brought me into contact with Floridians from each region of our state, young and old, rich and poor, from the left and from the right – many of them your constituents. Retirees, veterans, young suburban mothers, students, young professionals, religious and non-religious, rural and urban farmers have formed a powerfully persuasive citizen lobby that convinced me of the critical importance of this issue. These Floridians are unified by their concern and adamant in their demand that they have a right to know how and where their food is grown and what is in the foods they buy, eat, and prepare for their families.

It’s one thing to stand alone on principle; it’s another thing entirely to be left alone on principle. Our constituents are not alone in their assertion of their right to know. The citizens of 64 other nations support them. Sixty-four nations, most of them our trading partners, the United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea, China, Australia, Germany, France, and Italy, have laws requiring, as a minimum, labeling of genetically engineered food.

I encourage you to co-sponsor HB #1 and I hope to talk with you about it soon. Please see the enclosed fact sheet and related articles on this critical, fundamental, and fascinating issue.

Let me know if there is anything I can do to help you as we work together this session to ensure a bright future for Florida. As the great Winston Churchill said: “Let’s go forward together!”

With affection and respect, your colleague,

Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda
State Representative
House District 9


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