Where I stand
New York is home to many natural treasures so it’s no wonder that hunting and fishing are popular activities throughout the state. Hundreds of thousands of sportsmen hunt in the Empire State each year and generations of New Yorkers have fished our waters from the Great Lakes to Long Island Sound. I believe that we must be good stewards of our natural resources and our hunting traditions so that our and future generations can enjoy outdoor sporting activities. That is why I support policies that protect our environment while allowing New Yorkers to enjoy the bounty of our waters and forests.
I was honored as a “Hero of the Year” in the Field and Stream Magazine 2008 Heroes & Villains List for working with Senator Kent Conrad on passing legislation to provide millions in outdoor recreation grants to landowners who allow hunting and fishing on their land. Following a report that revealed a lack of hunting land, and a growing deer population that is responsible for destroying up to $60 million a year in crops, I joined my colleague in pushing the Open Fields bill. This legislation gives assistance to states seeking to provide incentives for private landowners who allow public access to their land for hunting. I am happy to report that the program is now law.
What I’m Working On
Helping help the hungry: I have introduced a bill to incentivize charitable donations of game by providing a tax benefit to hunters who donate their processed venison to anti-hunger programs. Hunters across New York donate their game to charity each year but donations have declined as funding to support these programs has dried up. This bipartisan legislation will provide hunters with an economic boost, combat overpopulation of deer and help the hungry all at the same time. I look will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress to get this bill passed into law.
Securing critical funding to preserve our natural resources: Maintaining our lands and waters is paramount for sportsmen which is why I have been a strong advocate of funds to restore and preserve fish and animal habitats. In the past several years I have supported historic investments in the health of the Great Lakes and the Long Island Sound which are helping to restore these waters for recreation. I have been a tireless advocate of controls to prevent the spread of the invasive Asian carp to the Great Lakes and I worked with members of Congress from New York and Connecticut to pass the Long Island Sound Stewardship Act of 2006, legislation which has identified 33 important areas on the Sound as necessary targets for ecological protection. I am also working to prevent invasive pests from destroying our fields and forests and have successfully advocated for federal resources to help fight invasive pests like the emerald ash borer and the Asian longhorned beetle.