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Patriot News Letter to the Editor about Josh First's Game Commission Nomination

Nov. 30th, 2007

A True Preservationist

Recently the state Senate had the opportunity to confirm a new member of the Game Commission, Josh First, who represented Pennsylvania's long tradition of hunter/conservationists. Hunters were the first to call for preservation of our natural resources.

That First was nominated by Gov. Ed Rendell was a surprise in itself. First is a lifelong Republican, an NRA member and an avid gun collector. He is a strong defender of Second Amendment rights. His family has been prominent in central Pennsylvania Republican circles for at least three generations. He also served on the national board of Republicans for Environmental Protection and has supported common-sense conservation for years. Gov. Rendell apparently felt that First's ability to bridge the widening divide between sportsmen and conservationists was reason enough to nominate him.

But it seems, sadly, that the divide is unbridgeable. Where only 25 years ago sportsmen were the leading advocates of environmental protection, today the Senate cannot confirm someone like First who has remained true to that tradition. If ever there were a clear sign that the era of hunter/conservationists is beyond us, the Senate's refusal to confirm First was it.

-- ANDREW McELWAINE, Naples, Fla.