Henry Waxman, US Congressman (California)
“I am delighted to take the 7-Day VegPledge. Research shows that a plant-based diet can offer significant health benefits, including weight loss, lower blood pressure, improved cholesterol levels, and lower incidence of heart disease. And a plant-based diet is also good for the environment by reducing carbon emissions in our efforts to fight climate change.”
Representative Henry Waxman represents California’s 33rd Congressional District and is currently the ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. He has served in Congress since 1975, and before that served three terms in the California State Assembly. A leader on health and environmental issues, Rep. Waxman has fought for universal health insurance, comprehensive Medicare and Medicaid coverage, tobacco regulation, AIDS research and treatment, air and water quality standards, pesticide regulations, nursing home quality standards, women’s health research and reproductive rights, affordable prescription drugs, and community rights to know about pollution levels. A longtime champion of environmental and public health protection, Rep. Waxman introduced the first bill in Congress to stabilize the climate in 1992. Since then, he has continued his work to advance legislation to avoid dangerous, irreversible global warming, most recently with the passage by the House of Representatives of the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (also known as Waxman-Markey).
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.
Tammy Duckworth, US Congresswoman (Illinois)
Congresswoman Duckworth is an Iraq War Veteran and former Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs. In 2004, Duckworth was deployed to Iraq as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot for the Illinois Army National Guard. She was one of the first Army women to fly combat missions during Operation Iraqi Freedom until her helicopter was hit by an RPG on November 12, 2004. Duckworth lost her legs and partial use of her right arm in the explosion and was awarded a Purple Heart for her combat injuries. Duckworth spent the next year recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. She became an advocate for her fellow Soldiers and testified before Congress about caring for our Veterans and wounded warriors. Duckworth later became Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, and in 2009, President Obama appointed Duckworth to be Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Duckworth ran for Congress in 2012 to advocate for the practical solutions and cooperation needed to rebuild our economy and ensure that every American has a chance to achieve the American Dream.
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.
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.
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 the first state in the nation to ban the use of arsenic in chicken feed. This is his fifth year participating in 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 one’s risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and a variety of cancers. I am excited to participate in US VegWeek 2014 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.
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.
Ike Leggett, Montgomery County Executive (Maryland)
“I am happy to participate in US VegWeek 2014. I have been mostly vegetarian for close to 25 years. It is a very healthy way to go.” From hardscrabble roots in 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% of the vote. Then, in November of that same year, he was elected the First African American County Executive, winning more than 67% of the ballots cast in a three-way race. As County Executive, Leggett has focused on making sure that everyone in ever-more-diverse Montgomery County has a seat at the table and a voice in the decisions that affect their lives.
Cherri Branson began working on Capitol Hill in 1989. She has held various policy, legal, and legislative positions, including Legislative Counsel, Legislative Director, and Committee Counsel, serving Members of Congress from New York, Texas, Michigan, Illinois, Hawaii, California, and Mississippi. In 2005, Ms. Branson joined the staff of the U. S. House of Representatives, Homeland Security Committee and served as Chief Counsel for Oversight. In addition to leading investigations to reveal waste, fraud and abuse in federal programs, Ms. Branson used the oversight process to achieve social justice outcomes.
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.
Tim Male, Takoma Park Councilmember (Maryland)
Councilmember Male was formerly a registered public interest lobbyist and a senior ecologist for Environmental Defense Fund. A major portion of his work at EDF was to help direct its 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 at Defenders of Wildlife. He has worked as 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!” Councilmember Olson represents Maryland’s third District and focuses on supporting the public education system, increasing opportunities for young people, 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.
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 over 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 the Netherlands and 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 on Climate Change, and is the Board Chairman for EarthCraft Virginia, a non-profit organization providing consulting and certification services for energy efficient homes. He served as Arlington’s representative on the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Task Force on Climate Change and as Chairman of the Virginia Municipal League’s 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% by 2012. Mr. Ferguson is the former Chairman of the National Association of Counties’ Green Government Committee and is a member of NACo’s Environment, Energy & Land Use Steering Committee.