Public statement by Josh First on PGC confirmation vote
I am greatly relieved now that my nomination to the Pennsylvania Game Commission board of directors has been voted on by the senate. The significant amount of time and energy that I and many others had invested in this effort over the past two years sapped my ability to run my business, spend time with my family, and hunt and fish. Over that two year period leading up to today's vote, it became painfully obvious that successfully joining the Game Commission board of directors would amount to an uncompensated full-time job that would take over every facet of my life. The agency is insolvent, racked by political opposition from all corners, and in many ways a living legacy from glory days of yore...some might call it a dinosaur on its last breaths. Maintaining such an agency is a daunting challenge.
So, in losing the vote, I have regained my private life and that is a major win. My wife, Vivian, a full-time attorney and dedicated mother, was opposed to my joining the Game Commission board from the beginning (2005), and she is now quite relieved, knowing that not only is the endeavor finished, it will not continue.
As for the senate vote, the fact that so much fast-paced vote-switching took place on the senate floor is an indication of the complexity of politics, even involving something as benign as a wildlife commission seat. We both gained and lost bi-partisan support from the most unlikely areas. Ultimately, the reason the vote was lost is attributable to the strenuous efforts of state senator Jake Corman of Centre County, who has stated his opposition to my public and private land conservation projects (which I just can't understand). I congratulate senator Corman on his success, but question the value of the outcome: Me, a "green" Republican with a long history of incorporating capitalism into wildlife habitat conservation projects, is exactly what the Republican party needs and what many voters support, especially in Corman's own district. Having such a person as a public servant on a state wildlife commission board would be beneficial, one would think. As someone trained as a political scientist, as votes go, this one was fascinating to me and others, as well. Someone just commented that it is one for the record books, and it is indeed a lesson in how complicated politics are.
My warm thanks to the many people and organizations who supported my candidacy and who worked hard to take it this far. I am honored by your confidence. Despite all of the last minute negotiations, it was my decision to take it out of committee for a floor vote, because I needed finality. We now have it and I hope that the next candidate will be a dedicated conservationist who also sees value in protecting open space for future generations and critters alike.
I am off to work on my new barn up at hunting camp, and to catch up on deferred work for clients and my own investment projects. I urge everyone to get outside and enjoy Pennsylvania's beautiful outdoors, and to take a kid hunting or fishing so that they will value our natural resources and not take them for granted.
October 17, 2007