James Hinton’s staunch opposition to GMOs has earned him quite a bit of notoriety in Napa Valley. He is currently running for Napa County Board of Supervisors, District 2 where he has made his pro-labeling and his anti-GMO policy a major platform point.
For some who support GMOs and corporate domination of food, Hinton is a gadfly. For those who support clean food and consumer choice, Hinton is a hero. For that reason, when Label GMOs Napa County issued its set of endorsements for this election cycle, Hinton was naturally their man.
In a press release announcing their endorsement of Hinton, Label GMOs pointed out one instance that helped Hinton earn their endorsement when the organization wrote:
As was reported in the newspaper, Label GMOs Napa County spent two years, from 2013 to 2015, working with our county officials on a nonbinding resolution through which they could express support for mandatory labeling of GE foods at the state and federal levels, using their influence to impact higher levels of government. However, Supervisor Luce went from having no issue with the resolution as it was written to only supporting federal labeling, not state labeling, as a result of a phone call from a Napa Valley Vintners representative.
Even worse, he ignored our request to at least put the amended resolution on the agenda, so it could be discussed openly, with the entire board having an opportunity to weigh in. Supervisor Pedroza also had an opportunity to ask for this item to be put on the agenda, and he did not. In contrast, at the Sept. 22, 2015, meeting, James Hinton and Chris Malan both went before the board and spoke, asking them to put the resolution on the agenda.
When James Hinton spoke, he questioned why the board would support federal labeling and not state, especially when federal labeling has no chance of passing now or in the near future. He pointed out that at all of the public meetings he had attended regarding this topic, there was unanimous public support, and that board members’ conversations with the Vintners had obviously taken place “behind closed doors.” He asked if the board is a “representative democracy” and suggested that it is being influenced by wine industry money.
There are many people who, like us, are passionate about this issue, and who have it as a deal-breaker when it comes to supporting or opposing candidates. For this reason, we wanted to make clear where these candidates stand, so the interested public can take that into consideration at the ballot box.
Along side Hinton, Doris Gentry, Chris Malan and Mariko Yamada received Label GMOs Napa Valley’s endorsement.