Steve vs. Steve: Montana hunters and anglers weigh in on the Daines vs. Bullock Senate race

Montana is understood extra for its trout fishing than for its politics, however this yr’s contest between Steve Daines and Steve Bullock might doubtlessly tip the steadiness within the U.S. Senate. I reached out to a number of revered Montana anglers for his or her views on the Daines/Bullock race. Right here’s how they responded.

From world-renowned angler, creator and conservationist Craig Mathews:

US Senatorial candidate and present Governor of Montana Steve Bullock wrote Montana’s world well-known landmark opinion allowing public stream entry when he was the State’s Legal professional Common in 2009.

He has maintained all through his stellar public service profession that, “Montana’s public lands, rivers and streams are the State’s Crown Jewel” and he’ll proceed to work to “make certain hunters and anglers, and all outside lovers have entry to the blue ribbon rivers, lakes and streams and mountain climbing trails the general public enjoys.”

Not like his opponent, Bullock leads by instance, whether or not combating for local weather change initiatives or conserving Montana’s public lands public. He opposes the Republican platform that features transferring federal public lands to states and the promoting off these public lands to the best bidder. His opponent stays silent on this problem.

Bullock at all times demonstrates conservation initiative and management whereas his opponent’s voting report has been one of many worst in Congress.

I discover it necessary as an angler and hunter that Bullock brings of us collectively to do what’s proper for Montanans, and all public hunters and anglers. He rises above partisan politics to guard our public lands, clear water and air. He by no means simply tells us what we need to hear.

Our US Senate wants extra leaders like Steve Bullock.

From Dan Vermillion, who owns and operates an distinctive fly fishing enterprise in Livingston, Montana:

On conservation points, Steve Daines is a follower not a frontrunner. For those who have a look at any important conservation problem in Montana, whether or not or not it’s the Yellowstone Gateway Safety Act or the Nice American Outside act, Senator Daines has persistently stayed on the sidelines till the political headwinds had been so sturdy that he was compelled to assist these widespread sense items of laws. Then, very similar to the Veterans’ Residence he voted towards, he takes credit score when it lastly passes. This isn’t management. It’s politics at its worst.

Relating to points which are a bit extra delicate resembling timber administration, public possession of public lands, or wilderness research areas, Senator Daines persistently helps positions that undermine, in my view, Montanans’ proper to hunt and fish.

Governor Bullock has persistently pushed to develop public entry, assist stream entry, and public possession of public lands. He has fought for Habitat Montana, for the acquisition of conservation easements offering perpetual searching entry, and for guaranteeing that Montanans retain the vast majority of the licenses and permits to hunt right here in our state.

It ought to at all times be remembered that the Republican Get together platform nonetheless incorporates a plank that helps the switch of public lands. Senator Daines didn’t repudiate that, and Republican Jennifer Fielder, one of many nation’s main proponents of public lands switch, has been the Chairwoman of the Senate Fish and Recreation Committee right here in Montana for the previous two legislative periods. If Senator Daines actually cares about Montana’s searching and fishing future, he should lead on these points. He has not and leaping on the Nice American Outside Act bandwagon doesn’t change his report on searching, fishing, and conservation points.

Governor Steve Bullock has led and, as a US Senator, will lead and significantly improve Montanan’s future leisure alternatives. The selection isn’t even shut. For Montanans that hunt, fish, or recreate on our public lands, Governor Bullock is the proper alternative for Montana.

Steve Daines showing with Donald Trump on the White Home (photograph: The White Home).

From angler, hunter, scientist, ecologist and present board chair for Montana Conservation Voters, Jock Conyngham:

Till we go actual marketing campaign reform and rescind Residents United, every thing else is damaged. Steve Bullock argued towards Residents United in entrance of the U.S. Supreme Court docket and pushed for among the strongest darkish cash legal guidelines within the nation. For these causes alone, he has my assist. 

Steve Daines has helped Trump and firm weaken a few of our most necessary environmental laws and downplay local weather change. He cosponsored one good invoice, the GAOA — however solely when he realized his possibilities of dropping the 2020 race had been wonderful. Now he’s claiming he championed one other, The Yellowstone Gateway Safety Act, that others developed and he sat on for years. Daines voted to allow switch and sale of federal land just like the Bob Marshall and the CMR. Sportsmen must do their due diligence and have a look at his complete report; it’s a catastrophe.

There are many conservatives who’re engaged in sporting and environmental causes.  Daines isn’t one among them.

Conyngham additionally lately appeared on this video about Senator Daines:

From revered Montana fly fisher and fly tyer John Wooden:

I’ve seen some precise management from Bullock, particularly regarding the Covid-19 pandemic. Slightly than simply comply with the blunderings of the present administration, he made choices to assist Montana and Montanans get by this ongoing disaster just a little simpler, whereas Daines adopted the lead of the White Home at each flip.

Daines has little-to-no regard for preserving and defending the surroundings or our entry to public lands, once more following the lead from the White Home which has probably the most horrendous environmental report of my lifetime. By all appearances, he would a lot reasonably hold his standing with the RNC than shield the rights of the folks of Montana.

From E. Donnall Thomas Jr., creator, angler, hunter and retired doctor:

Coming on the finish of what has been a brutal yr for all of us, the 2020 election guarantees to be probably the most important in my lifetime (and probably within the nation’s as nicely). This yr’s candidates should not the standard shades of grey. Their variations are stark and apparent.

Given the diploma of polarization into which the nation has fallen, the presidential race will seemingly dominate the dialogue. Nevertheless, for these of us dwelling in Montana, the result of a lot of state races will seemingly have extra speedy affect on our lives than something occurring within the Beltway. That is very true for the massive variety of Montanans who largely outline themselves by what they do outside, since outside recreation is likely one of the few sources that our state enjoys in abundance. For us, matters resembling public land entry, fish and wildlife administration, and upholding our extensively admired Stream Entry legislation are extra necessary than arguments about funds and overseas coverage.

No surprise so many candidates all of the sudden turn out to be hunters, anglers, and public land advocates a month previous to election. Whereas everybody talks a very good recreation, not less than for the needs of spot advertisements on tv, it’s necessary to separate the grain from the chaff.

The Governor’s race exemplifies the distinction. An east coast billionaire who has proven a exceptional incapacity to respect Montana values in his adoptive dwelling state, Greg Gianforte has blocked established stream entry on his personal property and overtly supported the privatization of public lands. His biggest second of fame got here when he assaulted a reporter in a show of immaturity that made nationwide information. Mike Cooney will make a much better governor.

The race for Montana’s junior senate seat offers an analogous distinction. Whereas Steve Daines can say the proper issues on the proper time, he’s no supporter of public land and water entry, as demonstrated when he needlessly inserted himself into the shameful demotion of District Ranger Alex Seinkiewicz below strain from Sweetgrass County landowners making an attempt to impede established public entry to the Loopy Mountains. Throughout his two phrases as Governor, Steve Bullock was persistently energetic in wildlife initiatives such because the Sage Grouse plan and demonstrated sturdy assist for public lands.

Montana outdoorsmen and ladies additionally must look carefully at races for much less distinguished positions. The selection of an Legal professional Common is extra necessary than it sounds, and Raph Graybill has been a constant supporter of public lands. Laurie McKinnon is up for re-election to the Supreme Court docket as one among two dissenting votes within the courtroom’s choice to uphold entry rights to the Ruby River. A constant supporter of public land switch to personal pursuits, and critic of the state’s Stream Entry legislation, she is a horrible alternative and deserves defeat.

A number of others of us shared damaging views about Senator Daines, however weren’t comfy with seeing their names in print.  Each single e-mail that got here my means was pro-Bullock and anti-Daines.

Which doesn’t imply that every one Montanans are towards Senator Daines. If I needed to guess, it’s fairly near a 50/50 cut up — with polls displaying the race a literal coin toss at this level. However not one of the anglers who responded to my question favored Daines or discovered fault with Bullock.

And admittedly, that’s not a shock. Steve Bullock is a well-liked governor who fishes, hunts, cares about very important points like public lands and local weather change, and has an extended historical past of working with of us on either side of the political aisle. Daines, then again, has tied himself to President Trump’s abysmal report on conservation and the surroundings, in addition to to Trump’s dismal financial efficiency and unhinged pandemic response. Daines does have the sturdy assist of the NRA — for no matter that’s value in 2020 — in addition to the assist of the GOP base. Whether or not Trump’s authoritarian coattails might be sufficient to ship Daines again to Washington for a second time period, or whether or not Bullock will transfer on from the Governor’s mansion to the Senate … nicely, I think we’ll all know quickly sufficient.

Within the meantime, whether or not or not you reside in Montana, and no matter whether or not you end up extra aligned with candidates like Steve Bullock or Steve Daines, please train the crowning proper and accountability that all of us share.


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