Senator David Trahan (R-Waldoboro) has agreed to take the job of executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine.
Interim SAM director Matt Dunlap will continue in the job until September, when Trahan is anticipating he’ll take over. Dave had what he described as an excellent meeting with the SAM Board yesterday.
“Dave is a very capable, very experienced individual,” SAM President Jim Gorman told me, “and he comes very highly recommended. I’m anticipating that he’ll be able to get lots more sportsmen involved in SAM.”
I can only hope that Jim is correct. Since I left the position last fall, SAM has offered the job to four people and hired three of them. No need to review the matter, but we were all fortunate that Matt Dunlap was available to step in, fix some problems, and get SAM to a position where they could attract an outstanding leader like Dave Trahan.
Dave has not resigned his Senate position at this time, and is working out the details of that decision and step. He has a lot of options.
Dave had a career year in the Senate this session, achieving more in a single session than most legislators achieve in an entire legislative career, from the resolve that greatly strengthened DIF&W’s deer plan to the largest tax cut in history. He also completed his three-year fight to establish a free saltwater angler’s registry, defeating opponents who wanted to create a saltwater angler’s license. And he came within two votes of that Constitutional amendment that would have given the department $10 million of public support.
A guy who never gives up, Dave is still working to get the department some General Fund tax money, hoping to do that at the legislature’s special session in September. He expects to meet with the Governor soon to seek his support.
Dave also has an outstanding environmental record and has been a particularly strong advocate for the Land for Maine’s Future Program. In it’s Winter of 2010 newsletter, the Maine League of Conservation Voters profiled Dave, probably the first Republican to receive that honor. He was one of only a handful of Republican candidates who received the League’s endorsement in the last election.
Dave told the League that he was very proud of his work on issues like water quality. “I worked on an act (last session)… to overhaul the sanitation program of the Department of Marine Resources. The bill was a significant overhaul of the program that tests water quality in estuaries in shellfish growing areas.” That bill was enacted and funded.
Dave has also been a leader in the effort to provide better fish passage by establishing more rigorous standards for the installation of culverts, a battle that is not over.
I have worked with Dave for many years and consider him one of the state’s most outstanding leaders – not just of sportsmen, but of all of us. He is, however, most dedicated to our outdoor heritage, and lives to hunt and fish. On that front, he does it all.
It was my privilege to work with Dave this session on a number of issues. LD 1569, a resolve sponsored by Senate President Kevin Raye, embodied many of the recommendations created from a December workshop on deer that I organized at Dave’s request. Thirty-six people participated in the workshop at SAM’s Augusta headquarters including five DIF&W staff members.
Dave and I compiled a list of recommendations based on what we heard at the workshop, and launched them into legislative waters with the encouragement of Senator Raye, who agreed to use his deer bill as the vehicle for enactment of the recommendations.
Dave worked with Senator Raye, Commissioner Chandler Woodcock, Sandy Ritchie, the leader of DIF&W’s deer plan, and a group of members from the IFW Committee, to whittle the list of recommendations down to those that were broadly supported. The bill was enacted and signed into law by the Governor.
Dave once served on DIF&W’s Fish and Wildlife Advisory Council and is currently the president of the Lincoln County Fish and Game Club. He’s served six terms in the legislature and been a leader of the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee.
An aggressive and tireless grassroots campaigner, Dave led the people’s veto last year of the tax reform measure that extended the sales tax to many new items. He’s one of the state’s top grassroots organizers, something that will serve SAM very well as it seeks to rebuild its membership.
A logger by trade, Dave has been thinking about changing careers for some time. I expect he’ll be at SAM a long time, bringing stability and leadership to an organization that has desperately needed both.