As a former river boat excursion tour operator, I know from first-hand experience how important our natural resources are to the tourism industry here in the 12th Senate District.
Tourism had a $19.3 billion impact on the state’s economy in 2015, up nearly $1 billion, or 4.4% from $18.5 billion in 2014. In addition, there are over 760,000 Wisconsin residents who hunt – behind only Texas. These hunters generate over $2.2 billion in sales during hunting seasons.
Hunting and fishing are more than just an industry to our state; they are a very proud tradition. I believe it is important that we hold state agencies like the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) accountable for the management of our fish and wildlife, and maintain our strong hunting and fishing traditions.
I have consistently voted to support our sporting heritage, defend our 2nd Amendment rights, and protect sportsmen from harassment.
- Legal protections to shooting ranges have been expanded so that there may be improved opportunities for sportsmen.
- Allowed long guns to be purchased from all states consistent with federal and state law
- Created a crossbow hunting license and season
- Removed the redundant 48-hour waiting period on handgun purchases (still requiring instant background checks)
- Made it easier for persons with disabilities to obtain DNR hunting and fishing permissions by expanding certification authority to physician assistants and nurses
- Permitted the sale of wild game bird feathers legally taken by hunting license
- Been a vocal critic of the federal government preventing the state from managing a sustainable wolf population
- As chairman of the Sporting Heritage, Mining and Forestry Committee I made it a priority to bring the committee north to hear from residents of the Northwoods.
I will continue to standup for sportsmen and value their input.
I also believe that it is equally important that we utilize our natural resources in a safe, responsible, and effective manner. For example, the forest products industry in our state is facing many challenges ranging from high state and federal regulatory costs to declines in home building and paper consumption. Mills that produce wood for flooring and other products have seen their raw material costs escalate, putting them at a competitive disadvantage. Working with the Wisconsin DNR to ease wood procurement regulations and sustain healthy practices in this industry has and will continue to be a front burner issue for me.
Wisconsin is home to over one million acres of federal forestland and I will continue to work with our federal representatives to increase harvesting on those lands as well.