by Larry S. Moore
Ohio –-(Ammoland.com)- The first Ohio Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus reception was held in the Ohio Capitol Atrium on Wednesday December 10 2014.
The event was hosted by the National Assembly of Sportsmen Caucuses, the Congressional Sportsmen Foundation (CSF) and the member organizations of the Ohio Conservation Federation. Buckeye Firearms Association had a table and several of our leadership and volunteers attending. It was a busy day at the statehouse with the lame duck session and HB 234 concurrence vote by the House.
A number of Senators and Representatives made time to stop at the reception during the session recess. This provided an opportunity to interact in a more relaxed setting than in the offices or committee rooms of the Statehouse. Stories were told, information distributed and questions posed and, hopefully, answered. It is important to have an active and open dialog about all the outdoor issues with those who make our laws.
Senator Joe Uecker (R-Miami Township), who lead the effort to form the Ohio Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, addressed the crowd, “I want to thank all of you for coming tonight and the organizations who hosted the event. You have the passion and love for the outdoors and the concern that legislators hear your voice. The legislature is trying to do well for Ohio. Our offices are always open. Sometimes we don’t always see the potential effect a bill will have on the sportsmen of Ohio. We invite you to contact us. I am not saying that we will always agree but having an open dialog to discuss the issues is important. I need to also thank Senate President Faber and House Speaker Batchelder for allowing us to do this and to have members join with us.”
Senator Lou Gentile (D- Steubenville) added, “I thank Senator Uecker for calling me and asking me to support the founding of the Ohio Legislative Sportsmen Caucus. I appreciate the values this group of Ohioans have for the out of doors. I appreciate your involvement. I am very happy we formed this caucus of bi-partisan legislators who care about the sportsmen and women of Ohio.”
Matt Miscka, Vice-President of the Ohio Conservation Federation recognized the member associations who supported the event. The supporting members, representing a cross-section of Ohio sportsmen, included the Buckeye Big Buck Club, Buckeye Firearms Association, Ohio State Trappers Association, Pheasants Forever, National Wild Turkey Federation, Ducks Unlimited and the Western Reserve Land Conservancy.
The success of the Congressional Sportsmen Caucus (CSC) spawned associated organizations to bring the state groups together on a national level and also extended to the Governor’s. I asked Kyle Rorah, the Midwestern States Coordinator for the foundation, to explain the roll the various caucus organizations play.
Rorah explains, “Twenty-six years ago, a dedicated and passionate group of sportsmen came together to form the bipartisan Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) to protect and advance our outdoor traditions of hunting, angling, recreational shooting, and trapping in the U.S. Congress. The CSC has grown to be one of the largest caucuses on Capitol Hill with nearly 300 members. Building upon that success sportsmen again rallied together to form the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses (NASC), a network of state legislative sportsmen’s caucuses. There are currently 44 states with legislative sportsmen’s caucuses with over 2,000 state legislators as members. the Governor’s Sportsmen’s Caucus (GSC) was born five years ago extending the pro-sportsmen network into the executive branch of state government. It is vital to effectively shepherd sportsmen’s interests at all levels of the policy process.”
The Ohio Legislative Sportsmen Caucus is one of the newest caucuses. Sadly, Governor Kasich, who loves to host sportsmen at the house where he doesn’t live, is not a member of the Governor’s Sportsmen Caucus.
Rorah continues, “The Foundation works in a collaborative and bipartisan fashion to protect and advance hunting, angling, recreational shooting and trapping across the U.S. It provides a connection and a voice for sportsmen and women with elected officials, fish and wildlife management agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGO’s), and sportsmen-allied industry groups. It provides a trusted source of information and guidance for caucus members at the federal, state, and gubernatorial levels on issues affecting American sportsmen. The National Assembly of Sportsmen Caucus functions as a liaison between the state caucuses, governors’ offices, and numerous industry representatives and corporate partners by facilitating their interaction and by providing forums for information sharing.”
Everything in politics takes money and the various caucuses are no exception. All the organizations are funded by allied industry groups, NGO and by individuals interested in supporting the mission to protect and advance hunting, angling, recreational shooting and trapping.
The Ohio Legislative Sportsmen Caucus (OLSC) is an important step to working cooperatively with other state and federal organizations. It positions Ohio to be better organized in the efforts to defeat anti-hunting efforts, protect the ability to professionally manage wildlife and promote increased access to hunting, trapping and fishing areas across the country.
Rorah concluded, “I hope to strengthen the OLSC relationship with the sportsmen’s community by facilitating heightened levels of interaction. This reception is the first of many such functions. I also plan to utilize CSF’s communications network to spotlight Caucus activities. We want to make more Ohio sportsmen aware that a committed group of legislators exists that are willing to carry the sportsmen’s agenda forward. Hopefully, this will encourage more sportsmen to get politically involved and ultimately strengthen their message. I plan to work closely with the Caucus, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the Wildlife Council, and the sportsmen’s community to identify emerging issues and proactively engage them to ensure our time-honored traditions are strengthened for generations to come.”
Outdoor writer and hunter education instructor Larry S. Moore is a long-time volunteer leader for Buckeye Firearms Foundation and winner of the 2005 USSA Patriot Award, the 2007 League of Ohio Sportsmen/Ohio Wildlife Federation Hunter Educator of the Year and the 2010 National Wild Turkey Federation/ Women in the Outdoors Hunter Education Instructor of the Year. Each Sunday Moore co-hosts the Classic Country Radio Outdoor Show, which is syndicated Sundays at noon on WKFI AM 1090, WEDI AM 1130, WBZI AM 1500, FM 100.3 and on the Internet at www.myclassiccountry.com.
SportsmensLink.org – Ohio Sportsmen’s Caucus Hosts Reception at the Capitol
Buckeye Firearms Association is a grassroots political action committee dedicated to defending and advancing the right of Ohio citizens to own and use firearms for all legal activities. Visit: www.buckeyefirearms.org