Stephen Wood is the state representative from Greene/Sabattus. He is sponsoring a resolution that asks Mainers to amend the Maine Constitution to exclude wildlife management from citizen referendums. That would be a bad change for Maine voters and would give complete control of wildlife management to the special interests that control decision making at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Wood claims that only the “professionals” at IF&W and the elected officials on the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee have the expertise to properly manage Maine’s wildlife, despite the fact that all wildlife resources are owned by the public.

What Wood isn’t telling the public is that he has a conflict of interest on the issue — he is a guide who hunts bears. His conflict of interest is legal under Maine law.

Wood is not the first legislator to have his conflict exposed. Several of Maine’s wildlife decision-makers display similar conflicts of interest. Many IF&W current and former staff are guides. The Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine has significant control of the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee. Currently Sen. Paul Davis and Rep. Dale Crafts sit on SAM’s board of directors as well as the IF&W Committee. Davis serves as chair of that committee.

Such special interests and the resulting conflicts of interest must be exposed and kept in check.

Maine’s Constitution and the referendum process should be kept the way it is.

Jeff Levesque, Greene


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