Raymond J. Lesniak, State Senator of New Jersey

Raymond J. Lesniak—veteran State Senator of New Jersey, who has a distinguished track record of working on behalf of animals and animal welfare—explains that he didn’t really harbor any political ambition while growing up, sort of wandering into that realm after graduating from Rutgers University and St. John’s Law School. bear-hunt-protestBut once he tried his hand at public service, he really took to it: turning in a five-year stint in the New Jersey State Assembly, and he has been serving in the Senate since 1983. Lesniak recounts his longtime love of animals, and the string of rescue dogs he’s lived with, including Brittany, a mixed breed Spaniel that was his companion for 19 years, as well as current canine pals Penny and Sammy, who added some well-placed barks to the conversation. (Talking Animals!) In this recorded senatorlesniak-604x272conversation, Lesniak addresses animal-related laws he’s pushed for, pending bills he’s sponsored, and ones vetoed by his periodic foe, New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie. Collectively, this includes legislation to fight illegal trading of tiger parts, ban the use of gestation crates, prohibit anyone from bringing hunting trophy animals into the state, ban shark finning, halt bear baiting, and, most recently, Lesniak sponsored “Nosey’s Law,” which prohibits the use of elephants in traveling acts (named after a Florida-based elephant leading the tough, solitary life of a solo endtrophyhuntinghome-1performing elephant.) He also offers his views on Governor Christie and Donald J. Trump. Toward the end of this conversation, Senator Lesniak provideda coy hint of his political aspirations, acknowledging he embraces the motto “Go up or go out,” noting he’s not going out, and explaining that he’ll make an official announcement in three weeks. A betting man would wager that this announcement, at least when covered by the media, may include the words “gubernatorial bid.” (http://raymondlesniak.com, www.njleg.state.nj.us/members/bio.asp?Leg=61)

image-ashxALSO: I spoke briefly with Beth Khan, of Animal Coalition of Tampa (ACT), about Stride For Strays, their major annual fundraiser slated for Nov. 6 at Perry Harvey Park—and a special registration discount that was set to expire at the end of September. (www.actampa.org, www.strideforstrays.org/)

COMEDY CORNER: “Inside Amy Schumer”’s “Doggy Daycare” (www.amyschumer.com)

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals

 NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: Bob Dylan’s “Man Gave Names To All The Animals”


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About the author
Duncan Strauss is the producer-host of “Talking Animals,” which he launched at KUCI in California in 2003, combining his passions for animals, radio, journalism, music and comedy. The show has aired since late 2005 on Tampa’s WMNF. Strauss lives in Jupiter Farms, FL with his family, including four cats, two horses and one dog. He spends each day talking to those animals, and maintains they talk right back to him, an as yet unverified claim.

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