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Vern Buchanan named by Humane Society as 2015 Legislator of the Year

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Sarasota Representative Vern Buchanan has been named by The Humane Society as it’s 2015 Legislator of the Year for his leadership on fighting animal cruelty and protecting endangered species.

In doing so, Buchanan becomes the first member of Congress from Florida to win the annual award since it was established over a decade ago.

Buchanan is “a tireless champion for animals on so many fronts,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of The Humane Society of the United States. “We are so lucky to have his extraordinary compassion and commitment.”

Buchanan said he was honored to be recognized for his record on animal welfare issues. “Safeguarding threatened wildlife and promoting animal welfare should be a nonpartisan issue important to everyone,” he said. “Whether it’s protecting Florida’s beloved manatees from extinction or ending the cruel and inhumane treatment of horses, I’m proud to fight in Congress on these important issues.”

The Sarasota Republican has introduced the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act in the House, a bipartisan bill that permanently bans the transport of horses to slaughterhouses in Mexico to be sold around the world. He also fought to stop U.S. slaughterhouses from killing horses for human consumption.

Buchanan also has been a strong supporter of the Endangered Species Act. Just this week he sent a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service urging the agency to withdraw its proposal to weaken protections for the manatee under the Endangered Species Act.

Previous recipients of the Humane Legislator of the Year Award include  Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Reps. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., and Kurt Schrader, D-Ore. in 2014, Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., for 2013, Sens. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Scott Brown, R-Mass., for 2012, Sen. David Vitter, R-La., and Rep. Sam Farr, D-Calif., for 2011, Reps. Elton Gallegly, R-Calif., and James Moran, D-Va., for 2010, Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., for 2009, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., for 2008, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., for 2007, Rep. Chris Shays, R-Conn., for 2006, and Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., for 2005.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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