Legislature’s Fish and Wildlife Committee includes former DIF&W Commissioner Danny Martin

State House Augusta Maine 3_JPGThis year the legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee has a lot of new members, although some of them are not new to the legislature. Seven of this committee’s members from the last session will not be back.

Interestingly, six were re-elected but moved on to other committees or leadership positions. Representative Ellie Espling (R-New Gloucester), a hard-working, smart, and very capable legislator, was recognized for her leadership capabilities and chosen to be the Assistant Republican Leader in the House, where she is sure to continue her interest in outdoor and landowner issues. Representative Espling is sponsoring my proposed landowner relations bill that would significantly expand DIF&W’s landowner relations program.

Senator Paul Davis (R-Piscataquis) is the IF&W Committee’s new Senate chair. Davis served on the committee as a member of the House last session. Senator David Dutremble (D-York), who was the committee’s Senate chair last session, returns as the Democrat’s only Senator on the committee. Senator Scott Cyrway (R-Kennebec), a new legislator, will be the committee’s third Senator.

Representative Mike Shaw (D-Standish) returns as House Chair, while returning Rep. Dale Crafts (R-Lisbon) will be the committee’s lead Republican. Returning to the committee where they served last session are Rep. Stanley Short, Jr. (D-Pittsfield) and Stephen Wood (R-Sabattus).

New to the committee, but not the legislature, is Rep. Roger Reed (R-Carmel), and Representative Roland Danny Martin. Martin once served in the Senate and was DIF&W Commissioner for the 8 years of Governor John Baldacci’s administration.

New to the legislature are committee members Reps. Robert Alley (D-Beals), Patrick Corey (R-Windham), Gary Hilliard (R-Belgrade), and Peter Lyford (R-Eddington). For the first time in my memory, the Passamaquoddy Tribe will have a representative on the IF&W Committee, Matthew Dana II.

This IF&W Committee is one of only three legislative committees with a Republican majority, although to be successful, legislation will need bipartisan support, given that the Senate is controlled by Republicans and the House by Democrats.

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website, georgesmithmaine.com, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.