As of Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Perhaps more than any other state, Idaho is a state of sportsmen and sportswomen. We truly have it all: trout streams, salmon runs, elk herds, whitetails and mulies, ducks, pheasants and chukar.
And that’s just the beginning of it. The fact is Idaho is any angler’s or hunter’s dream destination.
You would think the state’s large population of sportsmen would be represented by members of Congress who hold similar views on Idaho’s outdoor heritage, such as the protection of habitat and public lands.
And for the most part, we do. But that’s not the case for anglers or hunters who live in Idaho’s First Congressional District.
Time and time again, Rep. Raul Labrador has ignored the wishes of sportsmen by voting against angler-and-hunter-friendly legislation while supporting bills that are contrary to Idaho’s outdoor heritage.
Labrador has repeatedly introduced a bill that would give public land management decisions to industrial interests over the average Idaho angler or hunter. In fact, the bill treats sportsmen as an afterthought, as if we are to be politely dismissed from the table. Needless to say, hunting and fishing organizations have opposed these bills.
He’s also supported a bill that would eliminate federal law enforcement on public lands, placing the burden of protecting Idaho’s critical habitat to local law enforcement offices who would have little to no experience or training in this field. Again, hunting and fishing organizations oppose the bill.
That’s just the beginning. He’s cosponsored a bill that would sell public lands to the state. Presuming that anglers and hunters would still have access to that land after it was sold, it amounts to Labrador asking Idaho taxpayers to pay for land they can already access. Labrador is currently cosponsoring a bill that would eliminate review processes for timber and mining projects that would silence the voices of local sportsmen. It’s probably pretty obvious by now that angling and hunting groups oppose both bills.
But there was one bill sportsmen’s groups supported. It would have prevented the privatization of public lands when the sale would run contrary to public interest. Speaking for myself, I hoped that perhaps, maybe, just maybe Labrador would reflect on Idaho, a state full of sportsmen and women, and vote in our favor. But it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he didn’t….