The American Horse Council (AHC) recently honored the equine industry’s brightest leaders at its annual meeting and national issues forum June 5-7, 2022, in Washington, DC. Unfortunately, Representative Henry Cuellar of Texas, who received the prestigious Rolapp Award, had a schedule conflict at the time of the conference. AHC leadership was pleased to present the award today in Rep. Cuellar’s office at the Rayburn House Building.
The Rolapp Award is presented in honor of the late Rich Rolapp, who was President of the AHC from 1974 to 1993. This award is presented to a Member of Congress who has been a great supporter of the horse industry.
Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) is serving his ninth term in the U.S. House of Representatives, and proudly represents Texas’ 28th congressional district, which includes the cities of Laredo, Mission, Rio Grande City, and San Antonio. As a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies, which oversees all federal funding for agricultural programs, Congressman Cuellar has taken proactive stances on agricultural issues of critical importance to the 28th District of Texas’ rural communities.
AHC President, Julie Broadway, stated “Rep. Cuellar is a major supporter of the agriculture and equine industry ranking as one of our top partners on AHC’s congressional scorecard. He has been a champion for the horse industry on many fronts, and we so appreciate our partnership with his office and staff. Texas is a state rich with agriculture and livestock, and is the largest horse population state at 767,100 out of a national population of 7.2M horses. There are a total of 9,906,143 households in Texas, each made up of around 3 members – which equates to roughly 3M households in the state that contact a horse enthusiast.”
AHC regularly identifies legislation that supports the U.S. equine industry, evaluating bills that draw consensus among the diverse membership. Issue areas which unite the industry include but are not limited to federal resources for Equine Assisted Services (EAS), animal welfare issues arising under the Horse Protection Act (HPA), labor flexibility, tax flexibility, electronic logging device (ELD) flexibility, trails access, USDA resources to promote equine programs, and others that may emerge as the legislative process moves forward.
While reviewing the legislative record for the 117th Congress – which will run through January 2023 – AHC analyzed pro-industry bills, also referred to as “priority legislation,” and identified their congressional champions. From this broad list of champions, AHC assigns points based on a lawmaker’s degree of support for priority bills, and other factors. From this point system, a smaller pool of “industry champions” emerges to inform members of the horse industry which incumbents should be recognized and acknowledged for their support.
Rep. Cuellar stated, “I am very grateful to the American Horse Council for honoring me with the prestigious Rolapp Award. Throughout my career in Congress, and in the Texas State legislature, I have been an advocate for the horse industry because of the many jobs and opportunities that benefit my constituents. Our rural communities often lack a champion in Congress—but it has been my goal to provide that necessary support for their success. Thank you to American Horse Council President Julie Broadway for her tireless work in support of the equine and agriculture industries.”
The Rolapp Award was established in 1994 and previous winners include Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Jim Bunning (R-KY), Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Mike Enzi (R-WY), and Congressmen Hal Rogers (R-KY), Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Larry Combest (R-TX), Jim McCrery (R-LA), Bart Gordon (D-TN), Susan Collins (R-ME) and GT Thompson (R-PA), among others.
About the American Horse Council
As the national association representing all segments of the horse industry in Washington, D.C., the American Horse Council works daily to represent equine interests and opportunities. Organized in 1969, the AHC promotes and protects the industry by communicating with Congress, federal agencies, the media and the industry on behalf of all horse related interests each and every day.
The US equine industry contributes $122B in total value added to the US economy annually and employees 1.7M people. In total 30.5% of 38M US households contain a horse enthusiast.