The legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife will get seven new members (a majority) and two new chairs this session. Legislative leaders announced committee appointments late yesterday afternoon, and there were many surprises. Here’s the rundown on the IFW Committee.
Senator David Dutremble (D-York County) will be the Senate chair, while Representative Mike Shaw (D-Standish) will serve as the House chair. Dutremble is a new Senator, while Shaw served on the committee last session.
Mike is one of two Democratic Representatives returning to the committee, and he was a great choice to chair the committee. I’ve hunted turkeys with Mike, he’s sponsored bills for me, and I can tell you he is great individual, conscientious and hard working.
Also returning to the committee is Representative Sheryl Briggs (D-Mexico).
House Republicans return four committee veterans: Paul Davis (R-Sangerville), who will be the lead Republican on the committee, Dale Crafts (R-Lisbon), Eleanor Espling (R-New Gloucester), and Stephen wood (R-Sabattus).
Because Republicans lost control of the House and Senate, Republican Representative Stacey Guerin lost her seat on this committee. She ended up on the Judiciary Committee.
With just two returning members from their party and an extra seat this session, Democrats were able to place three new Representatives on the committee: Karen Kusiak (D-Fairfield), Tim Marks (D-Pittston), Stanley Short, Jr. (D-Pittsfield). They also put Jeff Evangelos, an independent Representative from Friendship, on the committee.
From the Senate comes David Burns (R-Washington County). Dave moves to the Senate from the House. Although he didn’t serve on the IFW Committee, he did sponsor a comprehensive bill on deer last session.
In addition to Senator Dutremble, Democrats put Senator Anne Haskell (D-Cumberland County) on the committee. Haskell was an outstanding member of the House where she chaired the Criminal Justice Committee. Recognizing her exceptional leadership capabilities, Democratic Senate leaders asked Anne to chair the important Taxation Committee, even though she had not asked for that position.
Having shot a moose this year, and well-versed in fish and wildlife issues, Anne will be a leader on the IFW Committee, if she can find the time to get away from the busy Taxation Committee.
I will write more about the committee’s members, including profiles of its new members, soon.
You can also check out all the committee assignments here.