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18 appointed to Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Council

In what could be interpreted as a well-timed effort to reminds voters who are hunters and anglers that the Obama administration cares about their concerns, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar last week announced the appointments of 18 members of the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council, an advisory group they established in 2010 to advise them on wildlife conservation, habitat conservation, and hunting.

Republicans often accuse Democrats of promoting gun control, but Obama said repeatedly during the 2008 election that he supported gun rights and has also declined to raise the issue of gun control despite several recent incidents of gun violence. But the administration has also emphasized its commitment to maintaining wildlife habitat.

“America’s rural communities and rural economies depend on healthy soil, water and air and America’s hunters and anglers — our nation's first conservationists — have long fought to conserve those precious resources," Vilsack said in a Friday joint news release with Salazar.

“These appointees are uniquely qualified to advise us on the full range of issues addressed by the Council while reflecting the true conservation spirit of our nation's outdoor traditions,” Vilsack said.

“During its inaugural term, members of the council provided important recommendations on conserving wildlife habitat and water resources that are so important to America’s hunting and angling heritage, as well as enhancing access to the great outdoors,” said Salazar. “I am confident that today’s appointments will provide a strong voice to the nation’s conservation and sportsmen communities and ensure that the next generation enjoys a thriving wildlife heritage."

The following were appointed to serve on the council for a three-year term:
  • David Allen, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
  • Jeffrey Crane, Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation
  • Robert Fithian, Alaska Professional Hunters Association, Inc.
  • Jonathan Gassett, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources
  • Thomas Franklin, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership
  • Winifred Kessler, The Wildlife Society
  • Robert Manes, The Nature Conservancy
  • Frederick Maulson, Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission
  • Tommy Millner, Cabela's
  • Robert Model, Boone and Crockett Club
  • Joanna Prukop, former New Mexico Secretary of Energy, Minerals & Natural Resources
  • Stephen Sanetti, National Shooting Sports Foundation
  • Larry Schweiger, National Wildlife Federation
  • Christine Thomas, College of Natural Resources, University of Wisconsin
  • George Thornton, National Wild Turkey Federation
  • John Tomke, Ducks Unlimited
  • Howard Vincent, Pheasants Forever
  • Steve Williams. Wildlife Management Institute

The council is an official advisory group established under the Federal Advisory Committee Act. The six federal agencies playing a key role in supporting and maintaining America's outdoors heritage – the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, Natural Resource Conservation Service, and Farm Service Agency – and the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, will also appoint organizational members to the council, the two secretaries said in the news release.