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Profile of U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich

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Dennis Kucinich Brendan Smialowski / Getty Images

Known For:

Dennis Kucinich is a former Democratic Congressman who represented the 10th district of Ohio. An animal rights supporter, Kucinich was the only member of Congress who is vegan. In both 2004 and 2008, Kucinich ran, unsuccessfully, for the Democratic nomination for President.

Personal Info:

Dennis Kucinich was born on October 8, 1946, in Cleveland, OH, to Frank and Virginia Kucinich, and is the oldest of seven children. He holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree from Case Western Reserve University in speech communications. Kucinich married his wife Elizabeth in 2005. His daughter, Jacqueline, is from a previous marriage.

Political Career:

Kucinich was elected to the Cleveland City Council in 1969, when he was only 23. At the age of 31, he became the youngest mayor of a major American city. Because of his refusal to sell the municpal electrical utility to private interests, he lost his mayoral re-election campaign, although he later served on the same city council and was elected to the state senate. In 1996, Kucinich was elected to Congress and served until the state was redistricted in 2013 and his district was eliminated. Kucinich has served as the Chair and the Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and is a member of the Animal Protection Caucus.

Kucinich remains politically active, with updates posted on KucinichAction.com.

Kucinich on Veganism:

Kucinich became vegan in 1995, and says about his veganism:
I hold the distinction of being the only vegan in Congress. I made this lifestyle change many years ago, because I consider all life on our Earth to be sacred. As a vegan, I choose not to eat any animals or animal products. I strive to live my life in accordance with my convictions, and any other choice of diet would defy my ideals and, in my judgment, be hypocritical.
Kucinich has also said that if he were dictator of the U.S. for one day, he would order everyone to eat vegan chocolate chip brownies.

Kucinich on Animal Rights:

Kucinich has spoken at animal rights conferences, and has written:
It is our sense of interconnection with all living things that brings us to respect the rights of animals; to understand that animals are not to be "lower than"; that animals should not have less of a claim to existence, less of a claim to the possibility of survival, less of a claim to dignity . . . I would include advocacy of animal rights in the Department of Peace, which I have already proposed to Congress.
Kucinich was the only member of Congress to vote against the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act.
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