Recognizing Pro-Business Lawmakers: In 2016, Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) (holding award) was presented the IFDA Thomas Jefferson Award for Distinguished Service by Craig Saladino (third from left), president and CEO of Saladino's Foodservice, headquartered in Fresno, CA. Also on hand were (on left) Paul Mugerditchian, president of Dot Transportation, Inc., Chip Kunde, vice president of government relations, Sysco Corporation, (and on right) Mark Allen, president and CEO of IFDA, and Danny Austin, regional distribution vice president - western at McLane Foodservice.

IFDA Members Recognize Legislators Who Support Free Market Principles 
Eating out is part of American life and the foodservice industry employs millions of people. Foodservice distributors play a vital role in that industry, delivering food and other goods to professional kitchens across the U.S. On April 13, 2016, IFDA and its members honored 295 lawmakers with the 2016 IFDA Thomas Jefferson Award — an award presented to legislators who actively support the free enterprise system.

During each Congress IFDA presents this award to Senators and Members of Congress who demonstrate, through their voting record, a commitment to increasing economic opportunity and reducing government regulation. The 2016 award is based on key votes during the 114th Congress on issues critical to the health of the foodservice distribution industry and the nation’s overall economy.  Recipients of the award in the House of Representatives — 243 lawmakers — supported IFDA’s position on at least 70 percent of 19 House votes deemed important to the industry. In the Senate, 9 key votes were rated and 52 Senators received the award.

Lists of the votes that were rated and lists of the award recipients are available below.

114th Congress House Key Votes
114th Congress Senate Key Votes
2016 House of Representatives Recipients
2016 Senate Recipients

"A wise and frugal government . . . shall leave men . . . free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government."

During his first inaugural address, Thomas Jefferson articulated the principles of free enterprise. In the spirit of these principles, IFDA presents the IFDA Thomas Jefferson Awards to recognize lawmakers who support pro-growth, fiscally responsible policy.

Criteria for Selection
The International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA) selects votes critical to the industry, its customers, and to the nation’s general economic prosperity. While these bills were being considered during the 114th Congress, the industry’s position was clearly conveyed to elected representatives. Recipients of the 2016 Thomas Jefferson Award must support our position on at least 70 percent of those crucial votes.

The Distinguished Service Award
The IFDA Thomas Jefferson Award for Distinguished Service was presented to Rep. Jeff Denham during the IFDA Washington Insight Conference, held April 13-14 on Capitol Hill.

Rep. Denham has first hand knowledge of the food business, having worked in agriculture as an almond rancher following college. During his time in both the California State Senate (elected in 2002) and in Congress (elected 2010), Rep. Denham has focused on fiscal responsibility and has been a key voice on transportation issues. In particular, Rep. Denham was the sponsor of language to reassert federal preemption over laws in California that require meal and rest breaks different from those required under the federal hours of service laws. The federal preemption is critical for the entire transportation industry so that companies do not face different laws in each state.

While the preemption has not yet been attained, Rep. Denham's leadership on this issue has been critical.

Past recipients of the Award for Distinguished Service include Sen. John Thune and Rep. Peter Roskam (2014) and Sen. Richard Burr and Rep. John Kline (2012).

Description of the Awards
The physical award that is presented to legislators has a standing figure of Thomas Jefferson framed by Jefferson’s four pillars of prosperity: agriculture, manufacturing, commerce, and navigation. The Distinguished Service Award (shown above) features the four pillars of prosperity and a seated sculpture of Thomas Jefferson.