Kansas Forms Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus
TOPEKA — Sportsmen have an influential ally in the Kansas Legislature since formation of the Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus at the Topeka Country Club on March 25. The Kansas Caucus becomes the 35th state affiliated with the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses (NASC).
A sportsmen’s caucus is formed by like-minded legislators who understand America’s hunting, fishing, and trapping heritage and its importance to wildlife management and its economic importance. Caucus members set partisan politics aside and maintain a unified front by remaining informed and organized on sportsmen’s legislative issues they see every day.
The kick-off event brought together members of the caucus, other interested legislators, and members of numerous state conservation groups and outdoors industry representatives such as the National Rifle Association, the National Wild Turkey Federation, Quail Unlimited, and Pheasants Forever. In all, nearly 60 people attended the reception, including more than 20 policymakers. Outdoor writers, outfitters, and trappers who expressed an interest in the caucus attended a reception to visit with legislators about the new caucus and sportsmen’s legislative issues in Kansas. Bethany Erb, state caucus manager for NASC, also attended to celebrate the caucus’s first formal gathering. The following day, Erb visited the Kansas Legislature and attended lunch with several state senators.
Legislative co-chairmen of the new bipartisan caucus are House Majority Leader Ray Merrick (Stilwell) and Rep. Gary Hayzlett (Lakin). During the evening, the co-chairmen announced the formation of the caucus, its objectives for 2008, and its affiliation with NASC.
“It is an honor to serve as chairman of the Kansas Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus,” said Merrick. “Hunting and fishing are ingrained in the Kansas lifestyle; it’s about time we had a legislative group to work on these issues.”
Hayzlett added, “After I attended the NASC annual meeting last fall, I realized what an excellent organization it is. I am excited that the Kansas caucus is about to launch and affiliate with NASC. The ability to get sportsmen and legislators on the same page is a real plus for the state of Kansas and for sportsmen across the nation.”
Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucuses nationwide are actively engaged with the sportsmen’s community, state conservation organizations, and the outdoors industry to advance issues that ensure the heritage of hunting and fishing.
To learn more about how Kansas’ 425,000 sportsmen spend $1.6 million per day, go online to www.sportsmenslink.org.