Colicchio told The New York Times that Food Policy Action, the advocacy group that rates members of Congress based on their food-policy record and of which he is a board member, is looking to launch a PAC.
“We want to get a little more involved in some of the races, and support those who are making the right decisions and call attention to those who aren’t,” he said.
Colicchio, who owns nearly a dozen restaurants nationwide, headlined a Tuesday-night fundraiser at Rep. Chellie Pingree's (D-Maine) home to launch the new effort.
He said that he hopes to inspire people to vote based on food issues, like hunger, to change the makeup of Congress.
“I think it’s time to start organizing people to start voting around these various food issues,” he said. “Then, once one person loses an election because of how they voted on these issues, and then things change.”
He also suggested opposition to food stamps and nutritional aid — known in Congress as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — has much to do with messaging.
Those provisions are typically included in the farm bill that Congress passes every five years, but the last one to pass was stripped of its food aid.
“We know there’s hunger in every Congressional district in the country,” he said. “I think more than anything, we really need to change the messaging around things like SNAP — the idea that it’s a handout and welfare, we really need to change that message.”
The group is advised by Bill Burton, a former deputy White House press secretary to President Obama. FPA's executive director, Scott Faber, said the group "represents the first time the food movement has really tried to make food political."
“We’ll be highlighting the ways members have voted to make food less safe, to make people more hungry, and where they’ve voted against sensible food policies," he said.