During the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) Annual Changing of the Guard Dinner on February 12, Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) leaders from the last Congress officially passed the torch to new House and Senate CSC leadership for the 116th Congress.
Now charged with leading the largest bipartisan caucus on Capitol Hill with the mission of protecting and advancing our hunting and fishing traditions, the new leadership addressed former CSC leaders and representatives from the sportsmen’s community on this year’s CSC policy priorities.
CSC Co-Chairs for the 116th Congress include: Senators Deb Fischer (NE) and Martin Heinrich (NM) along with Congressmen Marc Veasey (TX) and Austin Scott (GA). Vice-Chairs include: Senators John Boozman (AR) and Joe Manchin (WV) along with Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI) and Congressman Richard Hudson (NC). These leaders will bring bipartisanship and unique perspectives from different regions of the country to govern the CSC.
“I am thrilled to be able to follow fellow rancher [Senator Jim Risch] as Chairman of the Caucus,” said Sen. Fischer. “It’s great to see all the support for the Sportsmen’s Caucus, and I am looking forward to being able to promote what we stand for: the love of the great outdoors and the love of what this country has to offer.”
“As you look around at this incredibly diverse group of people, this is one of the few issues that still cuts across parties, cuts across culture, and really brings this country together,” said Sen. Heinrich. “We saw that today in the passing of public land sportsmen’s conservation legislation, 92 – 8.”
“I’m proud to serve as Co-Chair on the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus,” said Rep. Veasey. “As a hunter myself, I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Caucus to advance legislation that not only expands opportunities for American hunters, anglers, and other outdoor recreationists, but will also conserve our nation’s bountiful natural resources and wildlife.”
“Having grown up in South Georgia, hunting and fishing are much more than hobbies for me; they’re a way of life. I am honored to serve as House Co-Chair of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus for the 116th Congress, and I look forward to continuing to protect the rights of America’s sportsmen and women and advance conservation priorities with my fellow Sportsmen’s Caucus leaders,” said Rep. Scott.
“CSF has provided the link between the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus and the sportsmen’s community for 30 years,” said CSF President Jeff Crane. “We look forward to working with this year’s leadership in order to advance many pieces of common sense pro-sportsmen’s legislation.”
CSC Member Congressman Don Young (AK) also gave a heartfelt speech remembering his longtime fellow Congressman and friend the Honorable John Dingell - also a former Chairman of the CSC - who recently passed away.
Following the new leadership announcements, Bob Zimmer, Co-Chair of Canada’s Parliamentary Outdoor Caucus, presented CSF President Jeff Crane with an Honorary Membership to the Outdoor Caucus for his leadership and support with enhancing Canada’s outdoor heritage. Modeled after the CSC, the Parliamentary Outdoor Caucus is one of the largest caucuses on Parliament Hill, and shares a similar mission to the CSC.
Changing of the Guard Title Sponsors included: Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s. Host Sponsors included: American Outdoor Brands Corporation; American Sportfishing Association; Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies; Exxon Mobil Corporation; Federal Ammunition; Hornady Manufacturing Co.; Lockheed Martin Corporation; Bob Model; National Rifle Association; National Shooting Sports Foundation; Natural Resource Results, LLC; Oracle; Plano Synergy Holdings; Richard Childress Racing; Safari Club International; Shimano North America Holding, Inc.; and Southern Company Services.
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- Improve hunter and target shooter involvement in regulatory and legislative processes. (11.52%)
- Enact or expand temporary hunter education deferral programs (apprentice license programs, multiyear options, programs for all first-time hunters regardless of age, and programs promoting hunting of multiple game species). (11.52%)
- Offer shooting sports and hunter education as school activities and recreation programs. (64.40%)
- Link existing programming into family-oriented organizations (such as churches and home-school groups) where participants will have the social support to continue. (12.57%)