Congresswoman Betty McCollum (Minnesota)
Washington, D.C. (November 23, 2015) – National Park Trust (NPT) is very pleased to announce that in 2016, the year of the Centennial of the National Park Service, Minnesota Congresswoman Betty McCollum will receive the 16th Bruce F. Vento Public Service Award. The award will be presented to the Congresswoman at a June reception in Washington, D.C. Congresswoman McCollum is a member of the House Appropriations Committee where she serves as the ranking Democrat on the Interior-Environment Subcommittee and as a member of the Defense Subcommittee.
Currently serving her 8th term, Congresswoman McCollum has represented Minnesota's 4th District since 2001 when she filled the seat once occupied by Congressman Vento. Throughout her career, her top priorities have been the protection of our environment – including clean air and water and the preservation of our national natural treasures – for the benefit of current and future generations. She has consistently voted for and supported parks, public lands, full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and ocean conservation. A former high school teacher, the Congresswoman also is a strong advocate for excellence in education.
Congresswoman McCollum shared, "The work that Congressman Bruce Vento did to advocate for conservation and promote our nation's parks is a gift that continues to enrich our nation. Bruce Vento was also a science teacher, and I know he would be so appreciative of the work that the National Park Trust does to nurture an appreciation for the outdoors in our nation's young people. I am proud to carry on his good work and I am so grateful to be honored with this award bearing his name. We all know that there is more still to be done, and I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure that our National Parks are preserved and protected for another 100 years."
"Bruce and I were privileged to be represented by Betty McCollum during her public service in the Minnesota House," stated Sue Vento, who serves on NPT's Leadership Council. "I know that Bruce would applaud her great work in the U.S. House and NPT for honoring such a deserving, hard-working and wise leader. Mr. Vento, as he was called by his junior high students, would give Representative McCollum an A+ for her extraordinary work on behalf of our treasured parks and environment as well as her work to expand opportunities for kids and their families to experience the great outdoors!"
According to NPT Board Chair Bill Brownell, "We are delighted to honor Congresswoman Betty McCollum's 16 years of service during the 2016 Centennial Year of the National Park Service. As a champion of our country's parks and treasured landscapes and a strong supporter of excellence in education, her passions and accomplishments closely align with the mission and vision of the National Park Trust."
More About the Bruce F. Vento Public Service Award
The Bruce F. Vento Public Service Award is given annually to a public servant who has demonstrated a lifetime of outstanding service, skill, resourcefulness or innovation in the preservation of land, water or historic resources for the legacy of America.
In 2000, National Park Trust established the Bruce F. Vento Public Service Award to honor the memory and legacy of Bruce Vento, a 12-term Member of Congress from Minnesota and former Chair of the Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands. During his tenure, Congressman Vento passed more park legislation than any other previous chairman. Congressman Vento died on October 10, 2000 at the age of 60.
Each recipient of the Vento Award has expanded the nation's understanding of what it means to have a lifelong legacy and commitment to protecting America's heritage.
Past award recipient, Congressman John Lewis stated in his 2004 address, "Bruce Vento was a good man. He was an environmental stalwart – a Member who stood second to no one when it came to protecting our environment, strengthening our parks, and preserving our national heritage. He was the environmental conscience of the House, and he continues to inspire Members of Congress – and people throughout the country – who are fighting to make our nation a little cleaner and a little greener for our children and generations yet unborn."
At a 2000 dinner tribute to Vento, former President Bill Clinton said, "He has steered into law more than 300 bills to protect our natural resources." Fellow Minnesotan and former Vice-President Walter Mondale stated, "I think Bruce Vento has been one of the most impressive and effective congressman in modern Minnesota history. It's hard to think of an environmental issue where his leadership has not been found."
Born on October 7, 1940 in St. Paul, Vento attended the University of Minnesota and Wisconsin State University. He worked as a science and social studies teacher before his election to the state House in 1970. He was elected to his first term in Congress in 1976.
2012: Senator Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico
2011: Senator Susan Collins of Maine
2010: Senator Mark Udall of Colorado
2009: Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California
2008: Senator Harry Reid of Nevada
2007: Congressman George Miller of California
2006: Senator John McCain of Arizona
2005: Senator Bob Graham of Florida
2004: Congressman John Lewis of Georgia
2003: Congresswoman Connie Morella of Maryland
2002: Congressman John F. Seiberling of Ohio
2001: Lt. Governor of Alaska Lowell Thomas, Jr.