2015 State of the State: Why it was important to MUCC

Gov. Rick Snyder Photo: MLive.com Gov. Rick Snyder
Photo: MLive.com
by Matt Evans, MUCC Legislative Manager
Last night Governor Snyder gave his fifth State of the State address before a joint session of the legislature. As expected he touched on a variety of topics providing the Legislature and people of the state a road map of sorts as to what his priorities are for 2015.
As State of the State addresses tend to go, Snyder did not dive into great detail, rather choosing to stick to broad ideas and topics.  He threw out his obligatory plug to support the road funding ballot initiative in May. We heard him talk about supporting education, the expansion of the Elliott Larsen Act, and the need for a skilled workforce in Michigan. But Snyder’s main focal point was his desire to reinvent state government. He believes that too many people are dependent on the system and it’s failing them. Snyder called this the “River of Opportunity” or a general philosophy that creates opportunities for success in people rather than breed dependence on government programs.
While I appreciated his speech and I thought many of his points were well thought out, I was most encouraged by the few sentences Snyder provided early in his address when providing a recap of 2014.  As a lobbyist for the hunters, trappers and anglers of the state, this was the most important few sentences of his address.
The Governor did not focus specifically on conservation issues, nor did we expect him to. But, he did offer the sportsmen and women of the state one of his patented “shout outs.”  When referring to the accomplishments of 2014 Governor Snyder stated “We did a really important, innovative package, working with our hunters and fishermen in the state. And it wasn’t about just getting more resources, they want to invest.  It’s about doing world class management, based on sound science, to really keep our natural resources strong, thriving, have more hunters out there in the woods doing good work, having more fishermen catching big fish. And we’re really making progress in Michigan on that front.”
Again, Snyder did not go into great detail on any one specific conservation issue from 2014 or for 2015 for that matter. It was a broad mention, but it was an important mention for the sportsmen and women of the state. If you break down these few sentences you can see that Snyder was referring to a number of different items that were either passed or enacted last year that he supported. The “innovative package” he mentioned was the new hunting and fishing license package that took effect last year, providing a much needed boost in revenue for Michigan’s outdoors.
Snyder’s mention of “world class management” can only be attributed to the Scientific Fish & Wildlife Conservation Act that was passed by the legislature in August. Even though Snyder did not need to sign the final product, his comments signify his support for our efforts and his support for the continued science based management of our game & fish seasons.
The Governor’s last comment regarding hunters in the woods doing work can be directly attributed to MUCC’s award winning volunteer program entitled On the Ground (OTG). This past August Snyder and other legislators volunteered for an OTG project in the UP, planting berry-producing shrubs that provide food and cover for grouse.
The Governor’s brief comment about the hunters, trappers, and anglers may have seemed benign at first but upon deeper inspection you realize how meaningful it really was. To me, it signified that he was and still is paying attention to the sportsmen and women of Michigan. With his comment, Snyder signaled his continued commitment to Michigan’s great outdoors!
The sportsmen and women of Michigan have made great strides the last few years to make our state a world class hunting, fishing, and trapping destination. We look forward to continuing that work with the Governor, the Legislature and all of the sportsmen and women of the State.
If you didn’t get a chance to watch the speech last night and you would like to, here is a link to Governors Snyder’s full State of the State address.
 

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