HONORING RALPH BENSON; Congressional Record Vol. 160, No. 152
(Extensions of Remarks - December 12, 2014)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E1800]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                         HONORING RALPH BENSON


                           HON. MIKE THOMPSON

                             of california

                    in the house of representatives

                      Thursday, December 11, 2014

  Mr. THOMPSON of California. Mr. Speaker, I rise today with my 
colleague, Congressman Jared Huffman, to honor Ralph Benson upon his 
retirement as Executive Director of the Sonoma Land Trust.
  For the past twelve years, Mr. Benson has worked tirelessly to guide, 
expand and strengthen the Sonoma Land Trust, enabling the organization 
to better fulfill its goal of protecting and conserving our lands for 
generations to come. During his time as the Executive Director, Mr. 
Benson increased the Sonoma Land Trust's budget from $1 million to $5 
million, doubled its staff and more than doubled its membership. During 
his tenure, the Sonoma Land Trust acquired 5,630 acres in the Jenner 
Headlands and opened the Baylands Center at Sears Point Ranch for use 
as an environmental education center. Under his leadership, Sonoma Land 
Trust is currently working on a tidal wetlands restoration project and 
trail expansion along San Pablo Bay and Highway 37.
  Mr. Benson's impressive work to grow his organization and take on 
sizable projects has bestowed tremendous benefits upon our community. 
The Sonoma Land Trust now protects 48,000 acres of land, up from 15,000 
acres, and has attracted outside capital to the County of Sonoma that 
amounts to more than $80 million.
  Mr. Benson's colleagues credit his success to his ability to foster 
enduring and productive partnerships and connections. A true leader, 
Mr. Benson inspired others to believe in his vision of what the Sonoma 
Land Trust was capable of achieving and with hard-work and his can-do 
attitude, made his vision a reality.
  Mr. Speaker, it is appropriate at this time that we honor and thank 
Mr. Benson for his invaluable contributions to land conservation in 
Sonoma County. On behalf of a grateful community, we wish him a most 
enjoyable retirement.