Stung by recent accusations that he doesn’t support the best interests of hunters, anglers and gun owners, presidential candidate Barack Obama had his campaign office hold a press conference call today to refute those claims and show “Senator Obama’s commitment to the rights and traditions of Montana’s sportsmen.”
An impressive line up spoke on Obama’s behalf, starting with Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission chairman and former state senator Steve Doherty, who pointed out that roughly half of the people in Montana’s hunt or fish and that he believed Obama would more strongly represent hunters, anglers and gun owners than Hillary Clinton.
Doherty also said Obama supports the North American Wildlife Conservation Model, the backbone of wildlife management in United States, because it proclaims that wildlife is in the public trust, not owned by private landowners.
Kendall Van Dyk, a member of the Montana House of Representatives and chair of the Legislative Sportsman’s Caucus, gave examples of where Obama had voted for gun rights and Hillary had not. “He (Obama) understands the importance of the Second Amendment,” Van Dyk emphasized.
Capping off the discussion was Land Tawney, active in many conservation groups such as the Hellgate Hunters and Anglers, National Wildlife Federation and Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.
Tawney pointed to Obama’s strong support for wildlife habitat protection, hunter access and more funding for wildlife, such as the conservation measures in the disputed Farm Bill now before Congress.
Asked by NewWest.Net if Senator Obama would vote for the S. 2483, a massive Interior Department funding bill currently bogged down in Congress, with its controversial amendment to loosen restrictions for taking guns into national parks, nobody in the call knew the Senator’s position but campaign workers promised to find out and report back to me. I’ll let you know when they do.
Immediately after the call, Obama’s press crew sent out a list called “Montana Sportsman for Obama.” Here it is.
Tim Border, Former President, Gallatin Wildlife Association
Shane Colton, Commissioner, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks
Steve Doherty, Chairman Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks/ Former Senate Minority Leader
Brian and Jenny Grossenbacher, Fly Fishing Outfitters
Sen. Larry Jent , Bow Hunting Instructor
Jim Posewit, Helena Hunters and Anglers Association/ Retired biologist, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks
Greg Smith, Former Backcountry Ranger, Glacier National Park
Ed Tinsley, County Commissioner, Lewis and Clark County/ Avid Hunter and Angler
Rep. Kendall Van Dyk, House Democratic Chair Montana Legislative Sportsman Caucus
Dan Vermillion, Commissioner, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks
Gary Wicks, Former Director, Montana Department of Natural Resources, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Water
Alan C. Epps
Footnote> S. 2483 just passed the Senate this week. Senator Tom Coburn (R-KS) decided to remove his Guns in National Parks amendment from the bill, so there was no vote on that issue.