SAM PAC Questionnaire
Maine Congressional Candidates
You are invited to apply for an endorsement by the Sportsman's Alliance of Maine. SAM's Board of Directors will interview Congressional candidates during the week of June 26. Please contact Kelly Cochara in the SAM office (207-622-5503) to schedule your interview.
A completed SAM PAC questionnaire is also required to receive an endorsement. Please include biographical information and any campaign material that would be of interest to sportsmen, including any position papers on sportsmen's issues.
The Sportsman's Alliance of Maine is the state's largest conservation organization representing 14,000 members. SAM was founded in 1975 to promote conservation of Maine's wildlife resources and to advocate for hunters, anglers, trappers and gun owners. We have a full time staff and headquarters in Augusta. Much more information about SAM and our issues may be obtained at our website: www.samcef.org.
SAM PAC is SAM's political action committee and endorses candidates for public office. This questionnaire is an important part of the endorsement process. SAM PAC's Board of Directors scores each questionnaire and considers other relevant material - including the records of incumbents - to create a grade for each candidate and then makes the endorsements. For Congressional candidates, the interview with our Board of Directors is an important component of the endorsement process.
Endorsements are listed in the October issue of SAM News that goes to all of our members. The Maine news media also publicizes SAM PAC's Congressional endorsements and the candidates generally use the endorsements and grades in direct mail and other advertisements.
SAM PAC does not make financial contributions to federal candidates. But we believe the SAM PAC endorsement is of great value.
If you have any questions about the issues, questionnaire, or endorsement process, please contact SAM's executive director, George Smith, at 207-622-5503, or firstname.lastname@example.org. We appreciate your interest in SAM and our PAC, and look forward to reading your responses to this survey. You may provide detailed answers to the questions on a separate sheet of paper.
Name: Jean Hay Bright
Campaign Contact: David Bright
Mailing address for campaign related material: 4262 Kennebec Road, Dixmont ME 04932
Campaign Telephone: 430-0308 (Augusta)
Campaign website/email address: www.jeanhaybright.us
- List outdoor activities that you personally participate in (hunting, fishing, shooting, snowmobiling, hiking, bird watching, canoeing, etc.)
We operate an organic farm. We deal every day with the interactions of nature. We use no pesticides on our farm. We are careful not to destroy habitat and conscientious about creating new habitat opportunities. We enjoy observing and photographing birds and other wildlife.
Our farm provides habitat for deer, moose, fox, coyotes, turkeys, rabbits, porcupines, raccoons, skunks, mice, moles, bald eagles, hawks, owls and other raptors, turkey vultures, herons, ducks, geese, crows, ravens, sandpipers, numerous song birds including cardinals and blue birds, and countless other species of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, birds, spiders and insects.
We allow hunting and fishing on our land provided the user asks permission, is careful and aware of the rights of our neighbors, operates within the limits of the law, and exercises safe hunting practices.
We also own and operate an 80-acre tree farm in a nearby town.
- List your memberships in groups representing sportsmen, conservationists and environmentalists and any committee that work on outdoor/conservation issues or projects.
Cooperator, Penobscot and Waldo County Soil and Water Conservation Districts
Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA)
- List experiences that shaped your thinking about our outdoor heritage including hunting and fishing.
Aside from our farming activities, working and recreating in the outdoors is a common topic of discussion during family gatherings. Both of my children are graduates of the University of New Hampshire, with degrees in outdoor recreation. My daughter worked for North Face in San Francisco for several years and now works for REI in Massachusetts. My son has been employed for a number of years at Ex Officio/Orvis in Seattle. He is an avid hiker, and climber, and has climbed Rainier. My oldest stepdaughter is a veterinarian who worked for a couple of years with the Raptor Center and Wildlife Rehabilitation Center at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul. My other stepdaughter has a degree in wildlife biology, has worked on loon projects in Minnesota and currently in Maine, and will be starting graduate school in Canada this fall doing moose research. Her husband is currently the executive director of the Union River Watershed project.
In the 1970s, I and my first husband (a Vietnam vet with two tours of duty under his belt) came to Maine to homestead, going "back-to-the-land." For most of that decade, it was total immersion in the Maine camp tradition (wood heat for warmth and cooking, no electricity, outside "plumbing"), only year-round. It included many foraged foods, from deer and fish to clams and berries. I've also raised meat - pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, geese, cattle - and participated in the slaughtering/butchering process up close and personal.
- INCUMBENTS ONLY: Please provide us with a narrative description of your key votes, actions, and positions on the major issues of concern to sportsmen.
- CHALLENGERS ONLY: Please provide us with a narrative description of any key votes, actions, or positions on major issues that you believe the incumbent took that were not in the best interests of Maine sportsmen.
Iraq war resolution - This illegal and unnecessary war has siphoned federal resources away from many important domestic projects, including conversation programs.
Creation and renewal of the PATRIOT Act - This draconian law is a much greater threat to the personal liberty and freedom of sportsmen and non-sportsmen alike than any gun law could ever be.
- Do you support any additional federal restrictions on the ownership, possession, or use of firearms?
Not at this time.
- INCUMBENTS ONLY: Please explain your votes and positions on the major gun issues that were taken up in the current session of Congress, including legislation to protect gun manufacturers from liability lawsuits.
- CHALLENGERS ONLY: Please explain how you would have voted, and why, on the major gun issues that were taken up in the current session of Congress.
My overall philosophy is that I firmly support the 2nd Amendment to the U. S. Constitution, and I believe that that Amendment has renewed importance under the Bush Administration. In a well-regulated militia, everyone knows who owns what weapon, how well that person can shoot, and whether that person can be trusted to work well with the team.
I also recognize that the 2nd Amendment has nothing to do with hunting, and I have opposed restrictions on gun styles or sizes based solely on the argument that that style or size of weapon is not needed for hunting.
On the other hand, I recognize the misuse of guns in violent crimes is a serious problem, and I support laws that seek to keep guns out of the hands of people who have demonstrated irresponsibility in that area. So records checks by gun dealers, both in their shops and at licensed gun shows, are to my mind appropriate.
As for gun manufacturers, if they make a weapon that does what it is designed to do (shoot straight), and that weapon is legally put into the commerce stream, I do not see that they should be held liable for a later criminal use of that weapon. If, however, the gun manufacturer makes an unsafe gun, one that doesn't shoot straight or discharges prematurely for instance, then I see no need to protect that gun manufacturer from legal product liability.
We own guns and have them in the house. My first husband served in the military. My second husband earned a high school varsity letter from the rifle team.
- Do you support federal introduction of wolves in Maine?
I do not support the artificial introduction of any species of wildlife into this or any other state, nor do I support the eradication of any species of wildlife from this or any other state. Wildlife, by definition, is wild, and enlarges or reduces its territory based on habitat and climate changes. If wolves return to Maine on their own they should be allowed to stay. If coyotes leave on their own, they should be allowed to go. Maine's two most famous wildlife introductions are probably caribou and turkeys. The caribou project turned out to be a huge waste of money, because obviously the caribou didn't want to be here. The turkeys love it here, but their populations are growing so fast that they're now doing serious damage to many farms (although I love to watch them).
- Do you support the creation of a national park in Maine's north woods?
In the past decade the pattern of land ownership has changed dramatically in Maine's north woods. As global corporations buy and sell what was once Maine paper mills and forest land, there is no Maine ethic left in many of these transactions. The large tracts are becoming smaller. They are being continually subdivided. Some of those subdivisions, such as Plum Creek, are visible and debated. Many more fall under LURC's consent agenda and go pretty much unreported. More and more acres are being closed to public use.
As a landowner myself, I support the right of landowners to close their property to public use if they wish, or to charge a fee for its use. Landowners and land users alike have to understand that this right of ownership and denial of use go hand-in-hand in our democratic capitalist way of life.
So unless the public takes action to preserve large tracts of land for public use, the existing public use of these tracts will eventually be lost. The only way to guarantee perpetual public access to wilderness is for the public to collectively take the responsibility of owning and maintaining that wilderness.
I - and I suspect most SAM members - support the concept of state-owned parks like Baxter State Park and the Allagash Wilderness Waterway. I support Acadia National Park, and the Rachel Carson and Moosehorn National wildlife Refuges. I support the White Mountain National Forest. I support our nation's system of national parks and national forests, and believe they should be adequately funded and maintained.
Remembering that trees and other plants are absolutely essential to survival of the human species - because without plant respiration the Earth would rapidly become depleted of oxygen and overcome with carbon dioxide - it's clear that at some point we will need to start getting serious about protecting our forests. As such, we will have to make much more of the north Maine woods public land if we expect to conserve it. I see no reason why the state of Maine should bear the entire burden of that expense, when it is all of the people of this nation who will benefit from the preservation of this wilderness.
So yes, this is a federal responsibility, and yes it's perfectly appropriate for Maine to get the benefit of additional federal dollars through the creation of another national park in Maine. The alternatives are more and more Plum Creek type developments - well planned, perhaps - but developments just the same, bringing with them all the problems of increased housing costs, increased taxes, water pollution, noise pollution, light pollution, denial of public access and destruction of wildlife habitat that all commercial developments eventually bring with them.
- Will you oppose any federal study of the north woods national park proposal by the U.S. Park Service?
No. It's the job of the U.S. Park Service to manage our national parks, and determine where and when additional parks might be appropriate. These determinations cannot be made without educated, scientific studies being conducted by experts in their field. I would no more discourage the Park Service from studying the concept of additional federal park acreage in Maine than I would discourage the Department of Transportation from studying the concept of additional federal highway miles in Maine.
- Do you support increased funding for the Forest Legacy program?
(please tell us the amount you support(ed) in the new federal budget)
around $60 million
- Do you have any federal initiatives in mind for the next session of Congress that would be of interest to Maine sportsmen? If so, please tell us about them.
Get our troops and corporations out of Iraq.
Repeal the PATRIOT Act.
Increase the CAFŠ standards for all motor vehicles.
Reduce air and water pollution, including mercury emissions.
Advocate for universal health care, so sportsmen and others who want to go into business for themselves could do so without losing health care for their families.
- Will you support an effort to withdraw the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services' designation of 10 million Maine acres as critical habitat for the Canadian lynx?
This is a question for wildlife specialist, not for politicians. For too long, too many of the people we elect to run this government have been ignorant of science and disdainful of scientists. This country must to stop confusing science and politics. We contribute to our system of land grant universities to properly train wildlife specialists in the science of wildlife management. If the un-redacted science shows those acres are not needed as critical habitat, then the scientists and wildlife specials should make the call that they be withdrawn, and Congress, if it must act at all, should heed the wise words of science. But if our experts say those acres are critical habitat, than they should stay so designated. And if the scientists can't agree, we should err on the side of the lynx and keep the land designated as critical habitat. If we later on learn the land is not critical, we can then release it. If we release it and that decision proves to be a detriment to the species, what we have done in the name of politics and in the face of science may prove irreversible.
- Will you support an effort to remove the Canadian lynx from the federal threatened list?
This, too, is a question for wildlife specialist, not for politicians. If the unaltered science shows the lynx are not endangered, then they should be withdrawn from the list. But if the experts say they are endangered, than they should stay so designated. And if the scientists can't agree, we should err on the side of the lynx and keep them on the list.
E-mail from Jean to George Smith:
Taking your advice that I learn more about the federal firearms laws,
David and I had a nice chat Tuesday with Van Raymond (who was wearing a
Hawaiian shirt designed to scare away any wild game in the vicinity)
about the forms, the regulations, the hoops he, as a federally licensed
dealer, has to go through to sell a firearm.
What I learned is the NICS does requires the full name, street
address, place and date of birth, height, weight, gender and race, but
does not *require* a social security number. NICS also needs the type
and number of identification produced by the buyer.
Also, the information on the manufacturer, model, serial number, type,
and caliber of gauge of the firearm is NOT reported to NICS, only
whether the firearm is a handgun or a long gun. Thus it appears that if
NICS is holding this information longer than the allowed 30 days, it
would be possible to build a database of who purchased a firearm, but
not a list of what firearms (or serial numbers of firearms) any
individual had purchased.
HOWEVER, licensed firearms dealers are required to keep records of their
sales, to whom and what type of weapon, including serial numbers, on
file for 20 years.
Van says the vast majority of his sales are cleared immediately when he
calls in for a check. Most of those "delayed" clear up in a day. If
he hasn't heard back on a "delayed" after three full business days, he
can sell the customer the firearm anyway.
Van said if there is a denial, he is not given a reason for it. He has
another form he can provide to the customer which the customer can use
to request the reason for the denial from the federal government. Van
says he hears that it often takes months for the government to respond,
but he, as the gun dealer, is not involved at that point.
It makes sense that the dealer is not given the reason for the
denial, since it could be based on medical or other confidential
information (or just plain incorrect information) that is none of the
dealer's business. But the person denied the sale should get a prompt
response from the federal government as to the reason for the denial. It
reminds me of Maine's mandatory state auto emission inspection program
several years ago where they could fail your car but not tell you why it
failed or what to do about it.
Whenever the government denies someone the right to do something that
most people are allowed to do ‹ be it purchasing a firearm or getting on
board a commercial airliner ‹ the government owes that person a prompt
explanation of the reason for the denial, so that the person denied has
an opportunity to correct false information or appeal the decision. As a
firm believer in due process, habeas corpus, and an individual's right
to know what the government knows about them, if this lag time is an
issue for your group, I would be willing to work with SAM to introduce
or co-sponsor legislation in this area.
I asked Van what happens when a firearm is recovered in a criminal
investigation. He said the police go back to the manufacturer to see
which dealer bought the firearm. Police then contact the dealer, who is
required to maintain an inventory log of every gun taken in, and when
and if it was sold to someone. That can be cross-referenced to the
Firearms Transaction Records maintained by that dealer. Van says dealers
are required to keep their records for 20 years. Besides police, Van
said he uses those records to help his customers find serial numbers or
other records when the firearm is lost or stolen, if they are applying
for a conceal weapons permit, or they move to a jurisdiction that
requires some sort of permit to own or transfer a firearm.
We also discussed the issue of gun shows. Van recognizes the problem you
discussed about non-federal dealers not being able to handle sales at
shows because NICS only will deal with people who can provide a Federal
Firearms License Number and the appropriate password. He says he
supports the concept that only federal dealers should be allowed at gun
shows, but admits he takes a lot of flak for that. The Bangor Daily News
Gun Show has taken that step, allowing only licensed dealers to be
vendors at the show, something I was not aware of.
I asked about my suggestion that the gun show provide someone to handle
all the calls, and Van said one problem with that is deciding who is
responsible for maintaining the paperwork for those 20 years. Obviously
there are some issues that must be resolved here in order to both make
gun shows more buyer- and seller-friendly while at the same time
maintaining the legislative intent of the Brady Bill.
As to the issue of sales from one individual to another individual, Van
said he didn't really see a way to regulate this, and noted that in many
cases the sales are made between people in the community who are known
to each other. The thing that often did surprise him, however, was when
people don't keep a paper record of such informal sales. Sellers should
do this, he says, for their own protection. As he pointed out, when
someone buys a gun from a dealer and then sells it to an individual, the
federal paper trail will lead back only to the original purchaser. If
that firearm is used in a crime long after the original purchaser has
sold it, the original purchaser should be able to produce a record with
the buyer's name and date of the sale on it. When the police come
knocking and someone's only response is "I traded it for a snowmobile
with some guy at the Fin&Feather cookout last year, but I didn't get his
name," he might have a problem.
Harkening back to our discussion in your office about gun registration,
it would appear that, except for private sales, the information on who
owns what is already being collected, and is required by law to be in
the files of registered gun dealers for 20 years. That data may not be
easily available to various levels of government, but it does now exist.
Does that change the discussion any?
By the way, on the 4th of July, it occurred to me I hadn't mentioned
that I once held a professional fireworks permit, and shot several shows
for Blue Hill Pyrotechnics, when that company was still in Blue Hill.
This was in the early 1980s. I gave it up when a six-inch-diameter shell
blew up in the barrel in front of me on Deer Isle. I decided I wasn't
having as much fun as I thought I was.
Jean Hay Bright