Camuso Unanimously Endorsed by IFW Committee

Judy Camuso was unanimously endorsed by the legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee this morning. Despite the snow storm, which delayed the start of the hearing by an hour, lots of people showed up to praise Judy’s selection by Gov. Janet Mills to be Commissioner of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Judy’s statement and answers to questions were impressive and comprehensive. I hope to write about what she said soon.

One anti-hunting anti-trapping advocate spoke against Judy but had no impact on the committee or the vote. The vote was 11 in favor, with two committee members absent.

Judy’s nomination now goes to the Senate where a 2/3 vote is required to confirm her as the  commissioner. I guarantee that will happen soon. Watch for my headline: Commissioner Camuso Confirmed!

Because of the storm I was not able to get there but my friend Ed Pineau read my testimony which I want to share with you. Here it is.

Good morning, Senator Dill, Representative Nadeau, and distinguished committee members. I am George Smith from Mount Vernon. My illness, ALS, makes it difficult to get here, particularly in a storm. I had intended to be there today, but the storm prevented that.

I really wanted to be here to speak for Judy Camuso, a fantastic choice to be our new Commissioner of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. I was a strong advocate for Judy and spoke with Governor Mills several times about Judy. I was so pleased when Janet picked Judy for this important position.

I’ve worked with Judy during her tenure as director of the wildlife division, for which she did a great job. But I am even more impressed by Judy’s thorough knowledge of the entire department.

I’ve talked with Judy and Janet a number of times to share our ideas for improvements at the department. I’m excited about the improvements Judy will be making from reorganization of the fisheries division to a substantial increase in the amount of information the department shares with the public.

I am certain that you will unanimously support Judy to be our commissioner, but I want to ask you for something else as well. Some of the more important improvements will require your support and legislative approval. I ask you today to work with Judy and to support the improvements she brings to you for approval and legislative action.

I’m not going to be able to get here for most of your hearings and work sessions, but I will listen online and write about your work in my outdoor news blog.

I want you to know that I’m available to help you in any way I can. You can call me, email me, or even come to visit. Senator Davis has already been out for a visit and we had a wonderful time sharing stories and talking about his legislative bills. If you ever have a chance to fish with him, I highly recommend it.

In closing, let me thank you for your service and your interest in our fish and wildlife resources, which are so important to all Mainers.


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,, 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.