Newly elected lawmakers talk sportsmen’s issues

This month, the Waterfowl Advocate interviewed three newly elected lawmakers about the legislative issues they see affecting sportsmen in the upcoming Congress.

U.S. Senator-elect Martin Heinrich (NM)
DU: As an incoming senator, please tell us a little about your background.
Senator-elect Heinrich: Raised in rural areas in the West and Midwest, fishing and hunting have always been an important part of my life. I’m a passionate public lands and backcountry hunter. Throughout my career, I’ve been a strong advocate for protecting public land and expanding responsible access to it for all Americans, and I plan to do the same in the United States Senate. 
Elected to Congress in 2008, I’ve served for two terms as a member of the House Natural Resources Committee and play an important role in managing public lands and developing the country’s energy resources, both prominent assets to my home state of New Mexico. Prior to Congress, I served as an Albuquerque city councilor and helped make Albuquerque a leader in energy and water conservation. I also served as the State of New Mexico’s natural resources trustee, working to protect the state’s natural environment and cleaning up contaminated areas in impoverished areas. 
DU: What are your legislative priorities for the 113th Congress that will affect sportsmen?
Senator-elect Heinrich: Sportsmen are the guardians of something uniquely American: our public wildlife and public lands. As New Mexico’s next U.S. senator, I will be a strong and effective voice for access, conservation and maintaining our outdoor heritage. I support policies that encourage joint private/public partnerships that protect habitat and preserve the North American model of wildlife conservation to provide additional hunting and fishing areas. Educating the public and engaging with communities across the country about these issues are essential to ensuring our sons and daughters have the same access to the outdoors that we enjoy today.
The following issues are critically important to me: 1) Maintaining and improving fish and wildlife habitat, 2) Providing responsible access to public lands for hunting and fishing and 3) Engaging our kids in our outdoor heritage.

U.S. Representative-elect Tom Cotton (AR)
DU: As an incoming congressman, please tell us a little about your background.

Representative-elect Cotton: I've had a winding, rewarding path to Congress. I grew up on my family's small cattle farm in the Arkansas River Valley, where hunting and shooting is a way of life. After college, I attended law school, but the 9/11 attacks happened my last year in school, which changed my path in life. I practiced law for a couple years, during which I represented the NRA in a gun owners’ rights lawsuit, but ultimately left to join the Army. I became an infantry officer and Airborne Ranger, serving with the 101st Airborne in Iraq and a reconstruction team in Afghanistan. I also served at Arlington National Cemetery with The Old Guard. After leaving the Army, I worked in the private sector as a management consultant for McKinsey & Co.

DU: What are your legislative priorities for the 113th Congress that will affect sportsmen?

Representative-elect Cotton: As a native Arkansan and an outdoorsman myself, I understand how central the outdoorsman way of life is to Arkansas’s culture and tradition. I also know that no one is a better steward of our environment than hunters and outdoorsmen. I look forward to supporting legislation that protects both sportsmen’s rights and wetlands-conservation efforts.

I strongly support our Second Amendment right to bear arms and I will work in Congress to protect this cherished right. I favor the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act to protect holders of concealed-carry permits when traveling across state lines. I also believe that Americans between the ages of 18 and 20 should receive the same protections as all Americans; if you are old enough to bear arms in defense of our country, you are old enough to exercise all Second Amendment rights. 

I also strongly support efforts to open federal lands and waters for hunting and fishing purposes. The Ozark and Ouachita National Forests in my district, for example, contain nearly 3 million acres of public lands that are excellent for hunting. In addition, I will support legislation that incorporates hunting and recreational shooting into federal land management planning processes.

U.S. Representative-elect Richard Hudson (NC)
DU: As an incoming congressman, please tell us a little about your background.

Representative-elect Hudson: I am a lifelong hunter and sportsman with deep family roots in North Carolina’s 8th district. I was raised in North Carolina and attended University of North Carolina Charlotte where I earned a bachelor’s degree in history and political science.
I am a conservative with a background in business and public service. I served North Carolina’s 8th district as District Director for Congressman Robin Hayes. I also served as a Chief of Staff in Washington for five years, gaining valuable insight into the problems with Congress today.
I am currently the owner of Cabarrus Marketing Group, which provides marketing, strategic communications consulting and business development services to small businesses.

DU: What are your legislative priorities for the 113th Congress that will affect sportsmen?

Representative-elect Hudson: As an avid hunter and outdoorsman, I will work with this Administration, federal agencies and other policy makers to advance the interests of sportsmen through policies that address conservation issues. I will support and promote common-sense legislation that protects our hunting and recreational shooting heritage, encourages land and water conservation and utilizes our renewable energy sources more efficiently.