Wildlife, fish and the great outdoors, do your homework

As we talk to our neighbors and friends about hunting, fishing, and our outdoor adventures, the one thing we share is our love and gratitude for living in Montana. Here we have access to world-class wildlife, fish and land resources that are second to none. We didn’t get here by chance. It has taken leadership and vision from private landowners, public land managers, resource advocates, wildlife and fisheries managers, and the support of our elected officials.

We know that the political divide is now great. However, this “one party vote” slogan is harmful. As hunters and fishermen, it is imperative that we screen candidates. What is their voting history for public lands and wildlife? Are they influenced by vested interests? Do they support that the wildlife and waterways belong to the people of Montana and not just a few wealthy, lucky citizens? These elected officials will have a big say in how we hunt, fish, and rebuild in the years to come.

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This year we will have the opportunity to select an additional lawmaker in the US Congress to represent the interests of Montana residents. The differences between candidates regarding how to develop and support resource policies are striking. At the moment, the wildlife and fish of our beautiful state belong to all of us. God has also blessed us with the vast, sprawling and wild common lands. These things are too important to all of us to entrust them to someone who has no roots in the land and an understanding of the needs of the people of Montana. Abroad, wealthy interests are looking to develop and utilize our public land and wildlife resources. We need a representative in Washington who can stand up to outside interests and has a track record of fighting and winning against attempts to privatize and limit public access to these resources.

Ryan Zinke is not very close to Earth. He’s turned his back on Montana for “big” promotions. As Secretary of the Interior (a position he had to humiliately resign from), he rescinded the National Plan to Protect the Habitat of Wise Grouse, removing protections from thousands of acres of public land to the leasing and development of oil and gas, permanently changing your public’s land and wildlife. He oversaw the appointment of William Berry Pendley, a person who had spent most of his career advocating for the sale of our public lands, to lead the Office of Land Management. Zinke was given a chance to show that he could represent the interests of the Montanans and he failed. Saying that you are to fishermen and fishermen and the lands and waters we all have is one thing, and another to protect private spaces and bring balance to the administration of our public lands.

Monica Trannell opposes Zinke. She has the knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to provide the parliamentary leadership that Montana deserves. Growing up in rural eastern Montana, she is one of several children where housework and hard work were the norm. She is someone who is passionate about the outdoors and understands how important hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing opportunities are to all of us. As a skilled lawyer, she has stood up and won against outside interests. As a citizen, she testified before the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission, and advocated for your public trust, wildlife and fish resources. If elected to Congress, she will stand up for our wildlife, fish, water, wild lands, and our outdoor way of life.

We all need to put partisanship aside, and take a look at whose background and record clearly supports our beliefs as hunters, hunters, and outdoor recreationists. Obviously, Monica Trannell should be our representative in Congress.

Tom Buchlers, retired biologist, US Forest Service, Stevensville; Cathy Hadley, hunter, fisherman, and fisherman, Deer Lodge; Chris Servin, retired biologist, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Missoula.

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