By Aoibheann Cline, Western States Coordinator, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation
Hunting, fishing and policy every day – a dream come true for this California girl. Hunting, fishing, and other conservation have been a part of my life from a very young age. When I received the Western States Coordinator job posting from the Career Development Office at the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, I knew the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) was the perfect match for me.
I grew up in Folsom, California, a suburb of Sacramento, best known for Johnny Cash and Folsom Prison. But for me, it has always been an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise with pristine lakes and river systems for fishing. It’s surrounded by rich agricultural land and wildlife refuges that have been conserved and maintained through strategic efforts to provide opportunities for hunters like myself, and my family.
Arguably, there is nowhere else in California where the conservation efforts of hunters are more clearly seen than from a duck blind in the Butte Sink Wildlife Management Area. As the sun rises over the Sutter Buttes, an expansive 18,000 acres of native wetland habitat is exposed. The Butte Sink is a successful model of effective, collaborative conservation efforts between private landowners; state, federal and private conservation organizations; hunters; anglers; and policymakers. However, this place is particularly special to me because it is where I learned to hunt and where I learned about the importance of conservation from my Grandpa, who spent many years advocating for hunting and conservation of waterfowl and wetland habitats during his time in the California legislature and as a lobbyist (which earned him a place in the California Waterfowlers Hall of Fame).
A rich family history and passion for government and policy led me to the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law. At McGeorge, I earned a certificate of legal concentration in government and policy, known as the Capital Lawyering Concentration, in conjunction with my Juris Doctorate (J.D.). The Capital Lawyering program ranks #4 nationally as the Best Law School for Public Service- Government Law.
During law school, I developed experience in government law through externships in local government agencies, where I clerked in the City Attorney’s Offices of Sacramento, Roseville, and Elk Grove, as well as in the County Counsel’s Office in Placer County. I continued to develop policy experience though the Capital Lawyering Program’s directed academic coursework and the Legislative and Public Policy Clinic. There, students research legislative issues and solutions, draft actual legislation, pursue adoption of the bill by securing an author in the California Legislature, establish a comprehensive lobbying effort, and develop regulations for implementation of the bill, if passed into law.
I am truly humbled to join the CSF policy team, where I work every day alongside outdoorsmen and women who are dedicated, passionate and experienced in ensuring hunting, fishing, trapping, and recreational shooting are available and accessible for our future generations.