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Will the GMO Debate Fuel Hawaii Campaign Donations as Local Elections Heat Up?

For Related Articles and More Information, Please Visit OCA's Genetic Engineering Page, Millions Against Monsanto Page and our Hawaii News Page.

The fervor surrounding genetically engineered crops in Hawaii is expected to spill into this year's elections, as a number of candidates have already begun framing their campaigns around an anti-GMO sentiment.

It's also anticipated to lead to increased spending on particular races that will pit opponents of genetically modified organisms against those who believe that large agribusiness and chemical companies, such as Monsanto, Syngenta and BASF, are a boon to the local economy and global food production research.

Those companies, of course, grow genetically altered seed crops on many of Hawaii's islands, and have a $250-million-a-year stake in making sure their business interests are protected.

But while the biotech firms, and in particular Monsanto, have long been financial players in local politics, the anti-GMO movement is ramping up its own firepower.

On the anti-GMO side, the Center for Food Safety, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that has been battling industrial agricultural practices since the 1990s, just opened a new office in Honolulu.

The group has already registered a political action committee with the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission to help elect like-minded politicians to state and local office.

"We're fighting because people have a right to know what's in their food," said Ashley Lukens, program director for the Center for Food Safety's Honolulu office. "Unfortunately, to get the respect you deserve you have to have equal weapons."   
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