February 27, 2013 (Washington, DC) – Against a backdrop of partisan divisiveness on Capitol Hill, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) held its Annual “Welcome to Congress” reception for members of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) for the 113th Congress on Tuesday night. The reception, which included 46 bipartisan Members of Congress, from both sides of the Capitol, focused on common issues of concern to sportsmen and women and served as an opportunity for members of the CSC to jointly agree on the need to move bipartisan, pro-sportsmen legislation in this Congress.
With nearly 300 members, the CSC, with assistance from CSF, remains an identified group of allies continuously working as pro-sportsmen elected officials to protect and advance hunting, recreational fishing and shooting and trapping.
Members of CSC leadership in attendance included: Senate Co-Chair Senator Kay Hagan, House Co-Chairs Representatives Bob Latta and Bennie Thompson and House Vice-Chairs Representatives Rob Wittman and Tim Walz.
CSF President Jeff Crane welcomed the packed room of CSC members and other attendees to the reception. “On behalf of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, I want to thank all members of the CSC for being here tonight. The CSC is the largest bicameral, bipartisan caucus on Capitol Hill and we have leadership from both sides of the aisle here tonight.”
CSC members from both the House and the Senate addressed the audience of hunting, fishing and other conservation leaders on a common theme of advancing a sportsmen’s package through both chambers and the impact sportsmen’s activities have on the U.S. economy.
CSC Co-Chair Sen. Kay Hagan represented the Senate and addressed efforts between her and fellow Senate CSC members. “I will work with my counterpart, CSC Senate Co-Chair John Thune in a bipartisan fashion to get a sportsmen’s bill done this Congress. I know the importance of hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation in my state of North Carolina, where it creates 95,000 jobs with a $6.7 billion economic impact.”
From the House side, CSC Co-Chair Rep. Bob Latta emphasized the need for action to protect access to hunting and fishing and all sportsmen’s activities. “This is the largest caucus in the House and it really shows through the attendance at events like this reception. Outdoor recreation has a huge impact on my state of Ohio. We have great hunting and great fishing, and our natural resources allow our youth to get involved in sportsmen’s activities. But we want to make sure to get multiple bills through the House that are important to sportsmen and women, and it is very important to get the job done this year.”
“Growing up hunting and fishing in Mississippi, I never knew there were any politics involved in the great outdoors. I look forward to working with the CSC and the Foundation to ensure that politics stay out of the way, and we can get a sportsmen’s bill done,” stated CSC Co-Chair Rep. Bennie Thompson.
Also on hand was CSF Chairman of the Board and Chairman of the Boone & Crockett Club, Bob Model. “I am overwhelmed by the attendance tonight. It is wonderful that CSF can help the largest bipartisan caucus in the U.S. Congress. One of our biggest issues we face is hunter retention and access to lands so that our younger generations can continue to hunt and fish.”Also in attendance were CSF Board Members Mark DeYoung, President and CEO of ATK; Brian Kelly, Senior Director for Government Relations for Americas Natural Gas Alliance; Jeanne Mitchell, Senior Director of Federal Relations at ExxonMobil; and Steve Sanetti, President and CEO of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
This year’s “Welcome to Congress” title sponsor was Amgen. Host sponsors included: ATK, Cabela’s, The Coca-Cola Company, Mossberg, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Oracle, Richard Childress Racing, Safari Club International and Shimano. The Co-Host Sponsors were: Accord Group,Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Bluewater Strategies, the Boone & Crockett Club, Capitol Hill Consulting Group, ccAdvertising, Crossroads Strategies, Ducks Unlimited, Forbes-Tate, LWCF Coalition, Magnum Entertainment Group, National Beer Wholesalers Association, National Marine Manufacturers Association, the National Rifle Association, Natural Resource Results, Patton Boggs, Resolute Strategies, Watershed Results and the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America
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?