Jeff Crane, President of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, and Whit Fosburgh, President and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, placed the following op-ed, “Sportsmen’s bill deserves coverage over dysfunction” in The Hill newspaper on July 14.
In Washington, it is a truism that controversy and partisan strife make a better story than good bipartisan policy. Nowhere is this more evident than The Hill’s July 7 piece, “Dems vote against sportsmen’s bill over gun control objections.”
In this piece, the author states that the bill is an attempt to help red-state Democrats in tough election races. Yet the author chooses this spin as opposed to the fact that the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act has 45 cosponsors, nearly equally divided between Democrats and Republicans. It is sponsored by Sens. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and cosponsored by Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Mark Begich (D-Alaska), among many others. It is truly bipartisan.
The Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act would enhance public access, improve fish and wildlife habitat and benefit tens of millions of American hunters, anglers and outdoor enthusiasts. Not since the era of Theodore Roosevelt has conservation been a partisan issue. Presidents as diverse as Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan embraced conservation, as have congressional leaders Ted Stevens and Tip O’Neill.
If the bill passes Congress and is signed into law, will politicians of both parties claim victory and show their constituents that they set aside partisanship for the good of the country? We certainly hope so, and we hope that The Hill will cover this feel-good story with as much gusto as it has stories of congressional dysfunction.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?