Our Assembly Minority Conference and I recognize that the honorable traditions of hunting, fishing and enjoying New York’s great outdoors are deeply rooted in our state and are proudly passed down generation to generation. These activities also have a significant, positive impact on our state’s fiscal health.
To that end, we are sponsoring the first annual “Sportsmen and Outdoor Recreation Legislative Awareness Day” in Albany on January 12, 2010 – and we want you to join us! This exciting event, a “freedom first” in our State Capitol, will highlight the positive role of outdoor activities in the lives of New York’s residents and our economy. Most importantly, it will provide hunters, sportsmen and outdoor recreational enthusiasts a chance to have their say about the legislative issues affecting them.
As a member of the National Rifle Association (NRA), the Shooters’ Committee on Political Education (SCOPE), Safari Club International and a lifelong sportsman and outdoor enthusiast, I am proud to host this event, which will feature a keynote address by Wayne LaPierre, CEO and Executive Vice President of the NRA.
NEW YORK’S GREAT OUTDOORS HAS MUCH TO OFFER
“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 contributes more than $1 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 cold water, warm water and saltwater fish species. Boaters also can 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.
According to the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), hunting is among the most popular forms of wildlife recreation in New York. Nearly 700,000 New Yorkers and over 50,000 nonresidents hunt in the Empire State! Revenues generated from hunting directly support wildlife conservation programs and provide substantial economic benefits to New York retailers and the tourism industry. Hunting is closely regulated by the DEC: hunters must complete a mandatory hunter education course to obtain a license. Hunters following strict safety rules taught in these courses have made hunting one of the safest recreational activities in New York.
In addition to the DEC hunter education classes, initiatives like the NRA’s “Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program” teach children in pre-K through third grade important rules for gun safety. The simple mantra is: “If you see a gun, STOP! Don't Touch, Leave the Area, and Tell an Adult.” This is a very important educational program that has helped teach and promote firearm safety.
MORE MUST BE DONE TO SUPPORT HUNTING AND FISHING
New York has always been a prime destination for hunting and fishing, but more can – and should – be done to enhance that reputation. Because hunting and fishing are recreational activities enjoyed by residents and visitors alike, these outdoor sports are big business for our local economies. Our event will mark the beginning of a grassroots effort to make legislators understand the importance of outdoor recreation in New York, as well as keeping our families safe, sustaining economic prosperity upstate and treasuring our fundamental right to bear arms.
If you are a hunter, sportsman, or someone who loves all that New York’s great outdoors has to offer, I hope you will consider joining me in Albany on January 12, 2010 for this “freedom first” event. So be sure to mark your calendar and save the date!
“PEOPLE’S CONVENTION” TOWN HALL MEETINGS OFF TO A GREAT START
If you’re one of the many readers of this weekly column, you already know of my enthusiastic support for a non-partisan grassroots reform effort to empower citizens to take back their state government by convening a “People’s Convention to Reform New York.” This Wednesday, I kicked-off the first of what will be a series of Town Hall meetings where my colleagues and I discuss specifics of the “People’s Convention” and outline how it could deliver the real change and positive new direction taxpayers have been demanding from state government. Our first two meetings were held in Queensbury – with my colleagues Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward and Assemblyman Tony Jordan – and Plattsburgh, with my colleague Assemblywoman Janet Duprey.
Both meetings were very well attended and people asked terrific questions, along with expressing their frustration and, in some cases, anger with state government. My colleagues and I answered every question and outlined how a People’s Convention could help achieve real reform for New York State. Judging by the overwhelming response we have been receiving, the interest in, and demand for, more of these Town Hall meetings on the People’s Convention will only continue to grow. If you want to learn more about the People’s Convention to Reform New York, visit www.reformny.org.
As this column is being written on December 18, allow me to offer my very best wishes to you, and all your loved ones, for a Merry Christmas!
As always, constituents wishing to discuss this topic, or any other state-related matter, should contact my district office at (315) 781-2030 or e-mail me at email@example.com.