Tonight, the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation will present Congresswoman Lois Capps (D-CA) and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) with its annual Leadership Award. This recognizes their work as co-founders and co-chairs of the National Marine Sanctuary Caucus, which works to strengthen the National Marine Sanctuaries Act, and to ensure that sufficient resources are provided to preserve existing sanctuaries for future generations. The sanctuary system currently protects 150,000 square miles of coastal and open ocean areas.
Their collaboration on the Sanctuaries Caucus shows that good things come from bipartisan (and bi-coastal) cooperation. Ocean Champions congratulates the Congresswomen on their well-earned award!
Their leadership on marine sanctuaries is not surprising, as they have consistently supported a broad range of ocean issues. Ocean Champions would thus like to take this opportunity to announce our endorsement of Congresswomen Capps and Ros-Lehtinen for re-election.
Congresswoman Capps has been a strong and dedicated champion on a broad range of ocean issues. She has co-sponsored bills protecting sharks and coral, as well as sea otters, salmon and marine turtles. In the 111th Congress alone, she sponsored and passed legislation to protect sensitive coastal and estuarine areas, as well as a bill to establish a national integrated ocean and coastal observing system. She also co-sponsored the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act, which passed the House, and co-led (with Senator Sheldon Whitehouse) a successful effort to establish an independent commission to investigate the BP oil spill in the Gulf.
Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen has also consistently supported important ocean initiatives. She co-sponsored the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia bill and the Coral Reef Conservation Act Reauthorization, which also passed the House. Like her Marine Sanctuary Caucus co-chair, Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen has publicly supported the establishment of a National Ocean Policy to protect, maintain and restore healthy oceans. The Congresswoman is committed to maintaining the health of the Florida Keys, and has twice used scuba gear to visit the Aquarius Undersea Laboratory to conduct online Q&A sessions with different schools. Recently, she has pushed for accountability from BP and the Minerals Management Service for their role in the Gulf oil spill, and has co-sponsored the Big Oil Bailout Prevention Act.
Given the ocean's importance to their coastal districts, voters in California and Florida could not ask for better candidates that Congresswomen Capps and Ros-Lehtinen.
For the oceans,
The Ocean Champions Team