Perhaps more than any other state, Idaho is a state of sportsmen and sportswomen. We truly have it all: trout streams, salmon runs, elk herds, white-tails and mulies, ducks, pheasants and chukkar. And that’s just the beginning of it. The fact is, Idaho is any angler's or hunter’s dream destination.
You would think the state’s large population of sportsmen would be represented by members of Congress who hold similar views on Idaho’s outdoor heritage, such as the protection of habitat and public lands. And for the most part, we do. But that’s not the case for anglers or hunters who live in Idaho’s First Congressional District.
Time and time again, Rep. Raul Labrador has ignored the wishes of sportsmen by voting against angler-and-hunter friendly legislation while supporting bills that are contrary to Idaho’s outdoor heritage. Labrador has repeatedly introduced a bill that would give public land management decisions to industrial interests over the average Idaho angler or hunter. Needless to say, hunting and fishing organizations have opposed these bills. Labrador is currently co-sponsoring a bill that would eliminate review processes for timber and mining projects that would silence the voices of local sportsmen. Again, hunting and fishing organizations oppose the bill.
But there was one bill sportsmen’s groups supported. It would have prevented the privatization of public lands when the sale would run contrary to public interest. I hoped that maybe, just maybe Labrador would reflect on Idaho — a state full of sportsmen and women — and vote in our favor. But he didn’t. I don’t expect all politicians to vote in favor of anglers and hunters every time. But just once. Just one single time, I would like Labrador to join Idaho sportsmen and sportswomen in solidarity on a single issue. I hope that’s not too much to ask.