MANATEE -- Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Longboat Key, has been named the 2015 Legislator of the Year by The Humane Society of the United States.
Buchanan, who will be presented with the award Tuesday at a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol, is the first Florida congressman to receive the award.
"Safeguarding threatened wildlife and promoting animal welfare should be a nonpartisan issue important to everyone," Buchanan said in a news release. "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."
Buchanan introduced the Safeguard American Food Exports Act, which permanently bans the transport of horses to slaughterhouses in Mexico to be sold around the world, according to the release.
Buchanan has also be a supporter of the Endangered Species Act and 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.
Wayne Pacelle, president of The Humane Society of the United States, said Buchanan is "a tireless champion for animals on so many fronts."
"We are so lucky to have his extraordinary compassion and commitment."
Claire Aronson, Manatee County reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7024. Follow her on Twitter@Claire_Aronson.