John Smeltzer: Udall is the sportsman’s candidate | SummitDaily.com
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John Smeltzer: Udall is the sportsman’s candidate

John Smeltzer

As a retired Colorado Division of Wildlife (CDOW) senior manager and an Endowment Life member of the National Rifle Association (NRA), I understand the relationship between protecting wildlife and their habitat here in Colorado and the protection of our firearm rights under the Second Amendment. Both issues are extremely important to me and sportsmen and sportswomen across this great state. Many Colorado citizens, myself included, chose to live in this state because of our abundant wildlife populations, breathtaking habitat and our great outdoor recreational opportunities, including hunting, fishing and shooting sports ” three activities near and dear to my heart.

For most of my life, I have been a registered Republican. I am supporting the McCain-Palin ticket and plan to vote for them in November.

Even though I am voting for John McCain, I joined more than 75 other CDOW retirees, including two former CDOW directors, in endorsing Congressman Mark Udall as the “Sportsman’s Candidate” for the U.S. Senate. Congressman Udall has clearly demonstrated to our group and sportsmen and women across the state that he is willing to listen and act in thoughtful, bipartisan ways on behalf of Colorado’s sportsmen and women. He has been more proactive, more supportive and more attentive to issues we sportsmen care about so much more than any other national political candidate in recent Colorado history. In addition, he has been dramatically more supportive of these issues than his opponent in the current U.S. Senate race. In fact, Congressman Udall’s opponent fails to even address sportsman’s issues on his website and has shown no interest in understanding or addressing the issues we care about so much.

In contrast, Congressman Udall has opposed the sell-off of our public lands, so we can preserve places where Coloradans today and our grandchildren tomorrow will continue to be able to hunt, fish, hike and find enjoyment recreating in this great state. While serving the State of Colorado as a legislator, he was instrumental in passing the “Sampson Law,” which set substantial fines for the illegal killing of trophy big game animals. He also has passed legislation protecting state game and fish agencies ability to keep resident license fees low and manage the balance between resident and nonresident hunter participation. He has been supportive of the necessary but environmentally sensible development of Colorado’s substantial energy resources, but in ways that utilize the best management practices rather than the extraction of our resources that jeopardizes all that we seek to preserve. He has supported the use of qualified sportsmen as a financially responsible way to manage wildlife within National Park Service boundaries. Udall has introduced legislation that would authorize the use of federal aid dollars in the construction and maintenance of public shooting facilities in Colorado, facilities that are sorely needed. He and his staff regularly attend meetings of organized sportsman’s groups seeking to better understand the issue that those of us who love “All Things Wild” in Colorado feel so passionate about. And what’s particularly important is the long-term sustainability of our abundant wildlife and their habitats and ensuring our rights to access our public lands.

Congressman Udall’s personal and public statements show that he agrees the Second Amendment conveys an individual right to own and responsibly use firearms, combined with his advocacy for new and expanded shooting-range facilities in Colorado, demonstrates to me that our right to bear arms are safe under his leadership. Moreover, his demonstrated strong support for Colorado’s sportsmen’s community and the protection of public lands and Colorado’s wildlife and habitats has convinced me and more than 75 other experienced retired wildlife professional, representing nearly 2,000 years of service and dedication, to “All Things Wild” in the State of Colorado, that Mark Udall will be our choice for the next U.S. Senator from Colorado. I hope you join us.


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