Erin McDonough – (517) 775-9500 Tony Hansen – (269) 420-9510
MUCC launches gubernatorial candidate video forum
Each major party candidate for governor discusses their take on the future of hunting, fishing and conservation in Michigan – available now, on-demand for voters
LANSING, MICH – Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC) and Michigan OutofDoors Magazine’s MichiganOutofDoors.com today released a first-of-its-kind “on-demand” gubernatorial conservation forum. Each major party candidate for Michigan’s next governor participated in the forum, answering an identical series of six questions submitted by MUCC and members* of the Michigan Conservation Coalition, a coalition of Michigan hunting, fishing, trapping and conservation groups. Each candidate’s answers are now available at MichiganOutofDoors.com.
MUCC Executive Director Erin McDonough said the project is designed to better inform hunters, anglers, trappers and conservationists about the candidates leading up to the August primary and November general elections. “Because conservation and wise use of our natural resources is an integral part of Michigan’s economy and the future our outdoor heritage, MUCC wanted to give the candidates an opportunity to explain to sportsmen and women how they would address these critical issues as Michigan’s next governor,” said McDonough.
MUCC Deputy Director and Editor of Michigan OutofDoors Magazine Tony Hansen said that the trend and popularity of accessing news and video content online makes this non-traditional forum unique. “The best part is that our gubernatorial forum is available on-demand, 24 hours a day,” said Hansen. “Because of the continuing trend of people receiving news and information from non-traditional sources, MUCC and Michigan OutofDoors Magazine want to make sure that sportsmen and women are well informed when they vote. We hope the accessibility of our gubernatorial forum allows more voters to hear what each candidate has to say about preserving and improving our outdoor traditions.”
And vote they do. With about 1.37 million hunters and anglers living in Michigan, a large majority consider themselves “likely voters,” and 8 in 10 say that a candidate’s position on sportsmen’s issues is important in determining whom they will vote for, according to a study conducted by the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation.
McDonough conceded that the number one issue at hand in the 2010 election may be Michigan’s economy, but emphasized the important role hunters, anglers and trappers play into that equation. “Sportsmen and women spend $3.4 billion directly in Michigan each year, which has an economic ripple effect of $5.9 billion on the state’s economy,” said McDonough. “To put this into context, hunting and fishing spending alone supports 46,000 jobs, $1.7 billion in salaries and $378 million in state and local tax revenue.” McDonough pointed out that these factors likely explain why every major candidate participated in this forum, as opposed to other forums. “With each major party candidate speaking to Michigan’s hunters and anglers through MUCC’s forum, it shows that they not only understand the importance of sportsmen and women as an economic force, but also wish to share their message with our constituency,” said McDonough.
President and CEO of Public Sector Consultants Bill Rustem will also be breaking down the candidates’ responses as the featured speaker of MUCC’s Annual Convention in Big Rapids on Saturday, June 26. In addition to starting the Lansing-based think tank, Rustem has decades of political experience in Michigan. He’ll provide convention-goers and public attendees his own perspective on the field of candidates and their respective positions on natural resource and conservation issues.
The gubernatorial conservation forum, containing candidate’s answers to the following questions may be viewed at www.MichgianOutofDoors.com
1.) What is your history/background with hunting, fishing, and trapping?
2.) How important is it to promote Michigan’s outdoors?
3.) What role should a natural-resources based economy play in Michigan?
4.) What is your position on the right to bear arms and carry concealed weapons?
5.) How important is it to deal with the invasive species issue?
6.) Should the Director of the DNRE be appointed by the Governor?
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* Members of the Michigan Conservation Coalition who informed these questions: Michigan Charter Boat Association, Michigan Conservation Foundation, Michigan Ducks Unlimited, Michigan Gun Owners, Michigan Recreation and Parks Association, Michigan Trappers Association, Michigan Trout Unlimited, Michigan United Conservation Clubs, Michigan Wild Turkey Hunters Association, Pheasants Forever – Michigan State Council, Quality Deer Management Association, and Upper Peninsula Sportsmen’s Alliance