Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R,I,C-Canandaigua) and the Assembly Minority Conference today hosted their second annual "Sportsmen and Outdoor Recreation Legislative Awareness Day" at the Legislative Office Building in Albany. The lawmakers were joined by Chuck Cunningham, Director of Political Affairs for the National Rifle Association (NRA) and thousands of outdoor enthusiasts from across the state.
"My Assembly Minority colleagues and I were pleased to see so many New Yorkers at our second annual Sportsmen and Outdoor Recreation Legislative Awareness Day," said Kolb, a member of the NRA, The New York State Rifle and Pistol Association (NYSRPA), the Shooters' Committee on Political Education (S.C.O.P.E.) and Safari Club International. "Due to the overwhelming success of the January 2010 event, we decided to make this celebration of our Second Amendment rights a yearly gathering."
The event, which included over two dozen vendors from around the state, highlighted the rich tradition of outdoor activities in the lives of New York's residents and our economy, and offered hunters, sportsmen and outdoor recreation enthusiasts from around the state an opportunity to meet with their legislators.
"I was honored to join Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb for Sportsmen and Outdoor Recreation Legislative Awareness day," Cunningham said. "The Second Amendment is under perpetual attack in New York State and 2011 will be no different. Our Constitutional freedoms are sacrosanct; I have spent my life advocating for them. I look forward to continuing the battle."
In addition to a keynote speech by Cunningham, the formal program included a taped presentation from NRA CEO & Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, as well as remarks from James A. Rabbia, Plant Manager for Remington Arms; Tom King, President of NYSRPA; Stephen Aldstadt, President of S.C.O.P.E.; and William Schwerd, Executive Director of New York State 4-H Shooting Sports.
"Remington Arms Company employs over 1,000 people in our manufacturing facility in Ilion New York," said Rabbia. "We are the largest arms manufacturer in New York State, and an economic linchpin of Central New York. The sportsmen and women who purchase our products represent a significant economic force; they support not just Remington, but various other industries, many of which are based in this state. The sporting tradition of New York is not just a social institution, but also an integral part of our state's economy and deserves the support of our state government."
Kolb is widely recognized for his advocacy of the Second Amendment and his voting record in support of preserving and protecting every New Yorker's right to bear arms. In June 2010, Kolb was named NYSRPA's 2010 "Legislator of the Year." In October 2010, he received S.C.O.P.E.'s "Sandra Lee Wirth Legislator of the Year Award." In December 2010, he was designated "Second Amendment Politician of the Year" by the Yates County Chapter of S.C.O.P.E. The three groups honored Kolb, in part, for his sponsorship of Sportsman and Outdoor Recreation Legislative Awareness Day - the first-ever event of its kind in Albany.
"The Sportsmen & Outdoor Recreation Legislative Awareness Day is a huge success that will continue to grow; I congratulate Minority Leader Brian Kolb for understanding the great impact that shooting and outdoor sports have on the economy of New York State," said King.
"It has always been important to me that sportsmen and women have the opportunity to network with colleagues and meet with their legislators to discuss the important role of 'Heritage Sports' and other outdoor activities," said Kolb.
"S.C.O.P.E. is committed to working to protect the right to keep and bear arms for all law abiding citizens of New York State. I'm pleased to join Assembly Minority Leader Kolb, our friends from the NRA, NYSRPA, Remington Arms and everyone who traveled to Albany today for the Second Annual Sportsmen and Outdoor Recreation Legislative Awareness Day," said Aldstadt.
"Heritage" tourism is big business in the Empire State, because New York is home to first-rate outdoor recreational opportunities. In fact, hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation contribute more than $6 billion to New York State's economy every year. With more than 7,500 lakes and ponds, 50,000 miles of rivers and streams and hundreds of miles of coastline, there are abundant opportunities for world-class fishing for a wide variety of fish species. Boaters can also explore these bodies of water via canoes, kayaks, personal watercraft, sailboats and motorboats. As winter approaches, New Yorkers regularly take advantage of the over 8,000 miles of State Snowmobile Trail System trails.
"Youth are the future of our shooting and hunting tradition. Shooting is The Activity of a Lifetime as it transcends age, gender or physical limitations. Equally important, by the very nature of learning through a mentoring process, shooting crosses generations as youth frequently learn skills, responsibilities and ethics from grandparents," said Schwerd."4-H Shooting Sports in New York State follows a national curriculum that includes certified volunteer instructors working with appropriate age youth who follow the 4-H Motto of Learning By Doing. 4-H encourages youth and parents, grandparents or guardians to participate together - learning, sharing and understanding across generations."
Vendors showcasing their products and services at Sportsmen and Outdoor Recreation Legislative Awareness Day included the NRA, NYSRPA, S.C.O.P.E., West Albany Rod and Gun Club, Federated Sportsmen's Clubs of Ulster County, New York State 4-H Shooting Sports, New York Houndsmen Conservation Association, Outdoor Writers Association, Conservation Alliance of New York, National Wild Turkey Federation, Sportsmen's Association for Firearms Education, Inc., Remington Arms, New York State Trappers Association, Harvest Sun Charters, Livingston County Federation of Sportsmen Clubs, Springville Field and Spring Club, Broome County Sportsmen Association, South Shore Waterfowlers' Association, Nassau County Fish and Game Association, Suffolk Alliance of Sportsmen, New York Bowhunters, Quality Deer Management Association, North Country ATV, Capital District Fly Fishers, Sporting Dog Trainers Alliance and Columbia Greene Friends of the NRA, among others.