GSC Co-Chair Governor Mike Beebe (AR) accepted his position as Co-Chair, replacing former Co-Chair Governor Brian Schweitzer (MT) and spoke on the importance of sportsmen's activities in Arkansas. "I think what you find is that all the governors across the country have a significant interest in sportsmen and women and what they contribute, especially the economic value they provide. What this caucus does is educate policy makers and represent these issues and get the voice of the sportsmen and women heard. I am honored to be a part of it."
GSC Vice-Chair Governor Terry Branstad of Iowa followed Governor Beebe and stated, "We appreciate all the sportsmen and women we have in the state of Iowa and all they do for the Iowa economy. I am proud to be a part of the Governor's Sportsmen's Caucus, as it is really a challenging time for us." Another member of the GSC leadership, GSC Vice-Chair Governor Earl Ray Tomblin of West Virginia expressed his dedication to the GSC. "Hunting is a huge part of the economy in West Virginia and we welcome the sportsmen's traditions that are so crucial to our state."
Each governor in attendance addressed the state of hunting, fishing and other conservation issues in their state and shared recent successes and experiences afield and on the water. Governor John Hickenlooper spoke on his state of Colorado and the importance of getting the younger generation involved in hunting and fishing. "One of the biggest challenges we have in Colorado, and in this country, concerns our children not enjoying the opportunities of the outdoors and not getting the exposure to traditions that we hold dear."
Governor Matt Mead of Wyoming highlighted the traditions that he shares with his children. "I take my son turkey hunting and walleye fishing and I understand the importance of sportsmen's traditions in the country and in Wyoming. It's an economic issue and it's a quality of life issue." Governor Phil Bryant of Mississippi, another avid outdoorsman stated, "Mississippi is a great state for the outdoors. I have been on a few hunting trips this year already and can tell you right now that our state is rich with great access to hunting and fishing."
Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation (CSF) President, Jeff Crane introduced the members of the GSC throughout the night and thanked them for their commitment to the GSC and communicating the importance of protecting and advancing sportsmen's traditions. "CSF's Sportsmen's Economic Impact Report shows that sportsmen's activities are on the rise, as is our economy. As budgets are tight, this is an economy that is important, as conservation efforts are often times pushed aside. We need your support to be sure that not only the culture and traditions remain but the economy remains strong as well."
The GSC reception was made possible thanks to our sponsors: Altria, ATK, the Auto Alliance, Cabela's, CropLife America, Dallas Safari Club, ExxonMobil, JC Larkin Company, LLC, National Rifle Association, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the Outdoor Channel, Remington, Richard Childress Racing, Safari Club International, Shell, Shimano, Winchester and the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America.