Legislators Nationwide Celebrate US VegWeek
Eleven communities have formally recognized US VegWeek with a proclamation!
Look Who’s Taking the 7-Day VegPledge!
Raúl M. Grijalva, US Congressman (Arizona)
“No matter what you believe in, respect for animals is an important part of being human. More humane treatment of domestic and wild animals has been a focus of my public policy career, and I’m proud to participate in US VegWeek to raise awareness and help spread the word.”
Congressman Grijalva represents the citizens in Congressional District 3. He is a member of the Committee on Natural Resources, where he has been appointed Ranking Member of the National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee, which oversees 600 million acres of federal land. As Chairman of the Subcommittee in the 111th Congress, he played the leading role in creating a permanent National Landscape Conservation System within the Department of the Interior and fought successfully to address the maintenance funding shortfall of American public lands. He has shown his commitment to a clean environment through his service as Co-Chair of the CPC, Co-Chair of the National Landscape Conservation System Caucus, and his membership in the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition. He is a supporter of the Green Scissors plan to cut $200 billion in government subsidies to industries such as coal, oil, gas and timber.
Eddie Bernice Johnson, US Congresswoman (Texas)
“Vegetables and fruits are an essential part of a healthy diet. I am excited to take part in US VegWeek to help encourage others to pursue a healthier lifestyle. US VegWeek can help encourage those who are not vegetarians to be more health conscious and help the planet.”
Congresswoman Johnson is serving her 11th term representing the 30th Congressional District of Texas. The 30th District is entirely within Dallas County and encompasses a large portion of the City of Dallas. In December 2010, Congresswoman Johnson was elected as the first African-American and the first female Ranking Member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. From 2000 to 2002, she was the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Research and Science Education. Congresswoman Johnson continues to emphasize the need to invest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. She has earned the reputation of being a stateswoman who is dedicated to improving U.S. foreign relationships and policies, and works tirelessly towards improving human rights around the globe. Congresswoman Johnson’s acclaimed initiative “A World of Women for World Peace” has been nationally and internationally recognized. She is the first nurse to be elected to the US Congress.
David Cicilline, US Congressman (Rhode Island)
In 1994, Congressman Cicilline was elected to the Rhode Island House of Representatives, where he was a champion of political reform and gun safety. He was elected mayor of the City of Providence in 2002, and re-elected in 2006. His eight years in office were characterized by the implementation of a formal city ethics code, the influx of $3 billion in new investment, the lowest crime rates in four decades, and the implementation of a nationally recognized after-school program. In Congress, he fights for common-sense policies supporting small businesses, manufacturers, families, and seniors. As a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Congressman Cicilline has also been a strong voice for bringing our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan as safely and expeditiously as we can.
Barbara Lee, US Congresswoman (California)
“I’m excited to participate again this year in US VegWeek—in fact, I’ve been meat free for four weeks now. This is an important issue not just for our bodies, but for our communities. US VegWeek is a great way to kick off a meat-free diet, but it’s easy to make it more than a week, and I’m proof of that.”
Congresswoman Barbara Lee proudly represents California’s 13th Congressional District. She serves on the Appropriations and Budget Committees, is a member of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, is a Senior Democratic Whip, Chair of the Democratic Whip’s Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity, and a Co-Chair of the Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus. Congresswoman Lee is the former Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and former co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Before being elected to Congress, she served in the California State Assembly and in the State Senate. She is a graduate of Mills College, and received an M.S.W. from the University of California, Berkeley.
Ted Lieu, State Senator (California)
“Healthier living is an idea that sells itself and leads to longer lives and an improved quality of life. As a state policymaker, and father of two, I enthusiastically encourage everyone to participate in US VegWeek by treating themselves to more fresh fruits and vegetables that can lead to a longer, healthier life – and lifestyle.”
Senator Ted Lieu, who dutifully aims to represent “those without a voice,” took the 7-Day Veg Pledge in 2010 when Compassion Over Killing launched VegWeek in Los Angeles, and has pledged every year since then. Lieu represents California’s 28th District, and previously served on the Torrance City Council, then the state Assembly and, in February 2011, was elected to the California State Senate. Lieu has been a leader in the legislature on animal and environmental issues.
Das Williams, Assemblymember (California)
“We all need to do our part to reduce our negative impacts on the environment. Even if some people cannot bring themselves to give up meat entirely, it is still possible to reduce pollution and protect the environment by eating less meat.”
Assemblymember Das Williams represents the California’s 35th District, and is dedicated to the protection of the environment. He has spearheaded the successful effort to pass some of the toughest energy efficiency standards in the state, has been leader in the effort to stop off-shore oil drilling, protected the coast and local water supplies by working to restore local creeks and wetlands, and fought to preserve open space.
Pedro Nava, Former Assemblymember (California)
“It’s an honor to again have the opportunity to be a part of such an important event. Eating vegetarian for a week is a great way for those of us who aren’t full-time vegetarian to make a difference, improve our diet and help the planet. After participating the last time, my wife and I eat many more vegetarian meals and we have come to enjoy the experience.”
While serving the 35th Assembly District from 2004-2010, Nava demonstrated a strong commitment to public safety, consumer protection and the environment, and was a leader on animal cruelty legislation. Nava was named Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on California’s Green Economy, and also served as a charter member of the California legislative animal protection caucus.
Paul Koretz, Los Angeles City Councilmember (California)
Councilmember Koretz took his position in July 2009, and represents the city’s historic Fifth District. He previously served as a California State Assemblymember for the maximum-allowed three terms. Koretz has gained a national reputation as an environmental leader. He was the first Southern California Director of the California League of Conservation Voters, and served as Administrative Director of the Ecology Center of Southern California. As a Councilmember, he has introduced landmark animal welfare initiatives such as the banning of cat declawing and puppy mills, and a review of using wild animals in circuses. In addition, he was a key supporter of the Los Angeles Meatless Mondays resolution passed by the Council in 2012.
Dr. Tony Collatos, Palos Verdes Unified School District School Board President (California)
Dr. Collatos is also an Associate Professor at Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Education and Psychology, and a research associate with UCLA’s Institute for Democracy, Education, and Access and the University of California All Campus Consortium on Racial Diversity. Before becoming a university teacher educator, Collatos taught as a secondary social studies instructor and worked as a college access adviser for low-income youth.
Jamie Raskin, State Senator (Maryland)
“US VegWeek rocks! Thanks to Compassion Over Killing for raising the consciousness of the whole community with such creative events and organizing. See you there!”
Senator Jamie Raskin represents District 20 in the Maryland State Senate, which includes Silver Spring and Takoma Park. He helped inspire the VegWeek campaign in 2009, and has pledged every year since to encourage others to take one week to explore vegetarian eating as a way to protect their health, the environment, and animals.
Josh Cohen, Mayor of Annapolis (Maryland)
A lifelong Annapolitan, Mayor Cohen is dedicated to protecting the character and quality of life in the Annapolis community. He is committed to protecting our environment and has pushed for stringent new environmental protections for Maryland waterways.
Mayor Cohen’s entire family—including his wife, Lesley, and both his daughters, Naomi and Tessa—are all participating in US VegWeek 2013!
Tom Hucker, State Delegate (Maryland)
Delegate Tom Hucker represents District 20 and serves on the House Economic Matters Committee as well as the Consumer Protection & Commercial Law Subcommittee. He is a champion for animal and environmental protection in the state legislature, and was the lead sponsor of legislation that, as of Jan. 2013, made Maryland that first state in the nation to ban the use of arsenic in chicken feed. This is his fifth year participating in VegWeek.
Shane Robinson, State Delegate (Maryland)
“I became a vegetarian a number of years ago because of my concerns with factory farming and a desire to decrease my carbon footprint. Now it’s a way of life and I can’t imagine going back.”
Delegate Robinson represents District 39 in the Maryland State Senate, which includes Gaithersburg and Montgomery Village. This is Del. Robinson’s second year participating in VegWeek, and since he is already vegetarian he’s pledging to go vegan for VegWeek.
Dan Morhaim, State Delegate (Maryland)
“As the only physician in the Maryland General Assembly, I know the importance of eating a vegetarian diet in decreasing ones risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and a variety of cancers. I am excited to participate in US VegWeek 2013 and explore the wide-variety of meat-free, local foods available to Marylanders. I encourage my constituents to join me in this effort to eat sustainably. Let’s Veg-out!”
Delegate Morhaim was first elected to the Maryland General Assembly in 1994 and re-elected in 1998, 2002, 2006, and 2010 to represent the 11th District of northwest Baltimore County in the House of Delegates. The only physician in the 188-member Maryland legislature, Morhaim has over 30 years front-line clinical experience treating patients in emergency medicine and internal medicine. Morhaim also serves on the faculty at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the University of Maryland Medical School. He also serves on the Board of the Baltimore Humane Society.
Aruna Miller, State Delegate (Maryland)
Del. Miller represents District 15, Maryland’s largest district, which includes much of Montgomery County, and chairs Serving Our Communities (SOC), an initiative to strengthen communities with volunteers to promote core Democratic values such as healthcare, education, and environmental protection. As a long-time vegetarian, Del. Miller and her whole family are participating in VegWeek, and she encourages others to join them.
Ike Leggett, Montgomery County Executive (Maryland)
“I am happy to participate in US VegWeek 2013. I have been mostly vegetarian for close to 25 years. It is a very healthy way to go.”
From his roots in the hardscrabble poverty of then-segregated Louisiana, Ike Leggett has built a record of public service marked by conviction to principle, leadership, and a willingness to take on tough fights and make hard choices.
In 2006, Leggett won the Democratic Party primary for County Executive by 61 percent of the vote. Then, in November of that same year, he was elected the First African American County Executive, winning more than 67 percent of the ballots cast in a three-way race.
As County Executive, Leggett has focused on making sure that every part of an ever-more-diverse Montgomery County has a seat at the table and a voice in the decisions that affect their lives.
Valerie Ervin, Montgomery County Councilmember (Maryland)
Valerie Ervin represents Montgomery County, Maryland’s District 5. She is an advocate for the interests of working families and improving the lives of children, is committed to ensuring children have proper nutrition, and advocates for community gardens. This is now her fourth year in a row participating in VegWeek!
Bruce Williams, Mayor of Takoma Park (Maryland)
Last year, Mayor Williams signed a Proclamation officially dedicating April 23-29 as VegWeek 2012 (read the Proclamation). To further show the city’s support for this effort, he, along with several other members of the council, took the 7-Day VegPledge, a commitment he is happy to make again this year.
Kay Daniels-Cohen, Takoma Park Councilmember (Maryland)
“I invite Compassion Over Killing to come to a Council Meeting before US VegWeek 2013 to see how many Council Members you can encourage to pledge! I am not a pure vegetarian but I love to support you, and pledging was quite fun and challenging last year.”
With a degree in physical education from the University of Maryland, Daniels-Cohen has had a successful career in health, physical education and recreation instruction, coaching and management. She also owns GlenTech, a consulting firm based in Takoma Park and focused on improving business management, training and marketing. Daniels-Cohen’s commitment to the citizens of Takoma Park is evident by her continued energetic support and care for her neighbors and community. She was named Activist of the Year 2009 by the Takoma Foundation and The Takoma Voice for contributions to better the quality of life for Takoma Park residents and outstanding civic leadership.
Seth Grimes, Takoma Park Councilmember (Maryland)
Seth Grimes is a long-time community activist who represents Takoma Park’s Ward 1, home of Compassion Over Killing, on the city council. Follow him on Twitter at @TakomaSeth.
Terry Seamens, Takoma Park Councilmember (Maryland)
“I’m happy to again take the VegWeek pledge to highlight the health benefits of a vegetarian diet, and help draw attention to the food needs of our more vulnerable neighbors.”
Terry Seamens represents the residents of Takoma Park’s Ward 4. He has an extensive professional background in information technology, and is a passionate advocate for working families, seniors, and disabled community members.
Fred Schultz, Takoma Park Councilmember (Maryland)
Councilmember Schultz has worked nearly 20 years for municipalities and 20 years in the private sector in real estate development. He owns Frederick Schultz & Associates, LLC, which provides loan financing advisory services to small businesses, and SBA loan packaging to banks in the Washington Region. He is an active supporter of Greenpeace, Environment America, USPirg, MaryPirg, CleanWater Action and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
Jarrett Smith, Takoma Park Councilmember (Maryland)
Councilmember Smith has served on city committees including the Commission on Landlord-Tenant Affairs and Washington Adventist Hospital Land-Use Committee. He has also volunteered for Accion USA, the largest micro-lender in North America, working with local organizations to assist small, local businesses.
Tim Male, Takoma Park Councilmember (Maryland)
Councilmember Male has been both a registered public interest lobbyist and a senior ecologist for Environmental Defense Fund. A major portion of his work there was to help direct their campaign to reform US farm and food policies, expand support for farmers markets and organic agriculture and fight against subsidies for unhealthy commodities. He currently serves as Vice-President for Conservation Policy for Defenders of Wildlife. He was previously a biologist in Australia, New Zealand, Virgina, New York, Texas and Alabama.
Eric Olson, Prince George's County Councilmember (Maryland)
“I’m taking the VegPledge because I’ve been a vegetarian for more than 20 years. Whether one is drawn to a vegetarian diet for health, environmental, animal welfare, religious, or other reasons, one thing is sure – there are incredible vegetarian meals of many cultures to explore!”
Council Member Olson represents District 3 and has been focused on supporting the public education system, increasing opportunities for young people and addressing the root causes of crime, and strengthening our environment. This is his first year taking the Veg Pledge, but he has been vegetarian for 22 years.
Patrick Hope, State Delegate (Virginia)
“In an effort to call attention to the health benefits, I pledge to go vegetarian for a week. Just limiting your intake of meat will lower your cholesterol, reduce your risk of heart attack and many cancers. I look forward to this challenge and the healthy benefits that will result.”
Delegate Hope represents Virginia’s 47th District, which includes much of Arlington County. He sits on the Virginia House Health, Welfare and Institutions Committee and has received several awards for his service to the community, including the ARC of Northern Virginia “You Are the Change” award and was named “Legislative Hero” by the Virginia League of Conservation Voters.
Ingrid H. Morroy, Arlington Commissioner of Revenue (Virginia)
“I became a vegetarian in 1980. Firstly, I believe that it is immoral to kill another being for no other reason than to feed ourselves. Secondly, there is no proof that I must sustain myself with protein or other nutrients that have traveled through the digestive system of an animal. In addition, by not eating meat nor fish I am able to keep chemicals such as growth hormone and mercury out of my system. And thirdly, it is important to me that I make my carbon footprint as small as possible. By avoiding meat and fish I do my small part in avoiding environmental pollution. During US VegWeek, I pledge to follow a vegan lifestyle.”
Ingrid Morroy was elected Arlington Commissioner of Revenue in November 2003, and took office on January 1, 2004. Before her election, Ingrid served as Arlington Deputy Treasurer for eight years. She has nearly twenty years of public and private sector management experience in the areas of public finance, international and domestic banking, small business lending, and human resources. Born in Holland, raised in Suriname (South America), Ingrid speaks six languages, including Spanish.
Paul Ferguson, Arlington and Falls Church Clerk of the Circuit Court (Virginia)
“I thank everyone who is willing to give this a try for a week. It’s healthier, better for the environment, and kind to animals.”
Mr. Ferguson served as a Member of the Arlington County Board from 1996-2007, serving as Chairman in 1999, 2003 and 2007. He serves on the Governor’s Commission Climate Change, and is the Board Chairman for EarthCraft Virginia, a non-profit organization providing consulting and certification for energy efficient homes. He served as Arlington’s representative on the Washington Metropolitan Council of Government’s Task Force on Climate Change and as Chairman of the Virginia Municipal League Environmental Committee. In 2007, he championed Fresh AIRE – Arlington Initiative to Reduce Emissions – a five year initiative to reduce Arlington County government’s greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent by 2012. Mr. Ferguson is the former Chairman of the National Association of Counties’ (NACo) Green Government Committee and is a member of NACo’s Environment, Energy and Land Use Steering Committee.
Jeff Irwin, State Representative (Michigan)
“I’m going veggie for a week because a plant-based diet is better for the environment and because it helps me be more mindful of my consumption choices. In addition, I am challenging myself to eat more locally grown food because of its benefits to our local economy.”
Christopher Taylor, Ann Arbor City Councilmember (Michigan)
“A vegetarian diet improves your health and reduces your carbon footprint. I’m delighted to participate in VegWeek.”
Yousef Rabhi, Chair of the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners (Michigan)
“Vegetarianism and veganism are interwoven in the fabric of this community. Many of my closest friends and neighbors have chosen to eat a plant-based diet to diminish their environmental impact, to reduce animal abuse, or to improve their own health. Whatever the reason, we can all be proud to live in a town where being veg is just part of the culture!”