For the January 2014 issue, the
Waterfowl Advocate features two new DU regional Public Policy Directors: Carmen Miller in the Great Plains Region and Mark Smith in the Western Region. Both joined DU in late 2013.
DU: First, give us a snapshot of your background and what brought you to DU.
I come from a long line of hunters – my grandfather was an avid waterfowl hunter. While my father, husband, and Brittany Spaniel, Louis, spend a bit more time chasing pheasants, we all share a love of North Dakota’s landscape, and all of the great outdoor recreation opportunities that come with it. I grew up in North Dakota
, and lived out of state for almost a decade, which included some time on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and law school in New Orleans. But I missed the landscape – the Badlands, Lake Sakakawea, prairies, Western vistas, big sunsets and silly things like being able to see the weather coming.
I started my career as an environmental lawyer for the State of North Dakota, working for both current North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, and former AG (now U.S. Senator) Heidi Heitkamp, on environmental enforcement, agriculture, water projects and a whole host of other natural resource issues. Before joining DU, I was a consultant on federal energy policy for the Pew Charitable Trusts. I’d worked with DU on various issues over the years, and always admired their approach to policy. DU’s history, strong science foundation, broad-based membership and their national and local presence are really unique in the conservation community, and make the organization a significant policy voice. This is such a great opportunity for me to build on my legal and policy experiences. Honestly, I feel a bit like my whole career has been preparing me for this.
I am looking forward to promoting the values of conservation and habitat restoration and protecting the heritage of outdoor sporting for current and future generations. As an Eagle Scout and lifelong outdoors enthusiast the values and mission of Ducks Unlimited resonate strongly with me. I have worked extensively in the policy areas of water, land use, agriculture and environmental issues. I bring a practical expertise in government policy process from a legislative and regulatory perspective, and a thorough understanding of the value of lobbying to accomplish organizational public policy goals. My background includes positions as a consultant on federal regulatory concerns for national business interests, as a legislative director for multiple members of the California State Senate, and as a registered lobbyist in California