WASHINGTON, DC – April 15, 2015 – In an historic recognition of achievement for the food retail industry, two association executives received the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Donald H. MacManus Award for their tireless public affairs, community and industry commitment to the state of California. FMI honored California Grocers Association’s Ronald Fong, president and CEO, and Keri Askew Bailey, senior vice president of government relations and public policy, at the annual “Day in Washington” Supermarket Industry Fly-In.
“FMI depends on its collaboration with our state association partners across the country to help advance the industry’s priorities at the state level, and the Donald H. MacManus Award is a testament to FMI’s partnership within the states,” FMI President and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin said. “Ron Fong and Keri Askew Bailey exemplify the power of grassroots through their tireless advocacy efforts on behalf of California retailers on a multitude of state issues, especially those issues related to the defeat of Proposition 37; fighting local proposals for warning labels and taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages; and passing a state-wide plastic bag bill with preemption over local ordinances.”
Fong is a political strategist and his legislative alliances include the CGA merger with the California Independent Grocers Association (CIGA), which united 179 independent grocers and suppliers with CGA’s existing membership; the 2012 alliance with national grocery associations to defeat statewide legislation on GMO-labeling requirements; and CGA’s efforts in passing the first statewide bag usage law in 2014. In his role as CEO, Fong oversees the association’s strategic direction and staff, which manages departments in government relations, communications, member services and business conferences.
Askew Bailey has worked on significant policy issues including Proposition 65; the Green Chemistry Initiative; a statewide ban on single-use plastic grocery bags; attempts to curb deployment of assisted self-checkout technology in the state; and proposed state and local GMO and sugar-sweetened beverage labeling. She has also worked to increase CGA’s visibility at the State and local government levels. Askew Bailey spearheaded the launch of several grassroots programs to help connect grocers with the policymakers that represent them.
FMI Vice President of State Government Relations and Grassroots Pat Davis said, “Complementing their notable successes as public affairs professionals, Ron and Keri are trident advocates for us as national spokespeople on state issues, participating in speaking engagements and helping to influence strategy for other states as they educate on pertinent priority and emerging food retail industry issues.”
Davis continued, “This year, among the state and local issues we track, more than 5,000 bills were introduced in the states, and three percent of the volume stemmed from California alone. Our collaboration with the California Grocers Association continues to be critical as we look to implications at the federal level."