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Gingery Honored as Conservation Champion
Gingery Honored as Conservation Champion
The Wyoming Conservation Voters came out with their 2007 Legislative Scorecard this past week, and I was honored as a “Conservation Champion” for Wyoming. Only ten legislators received the honor of being named a “Conservation Champion.
Specifically, the Wyoming Conservation Voters stated “Rep. Keith Gingery (R-Jackson/HD 23) helped win approval for Wildlife Trust funding late in the session after a series of similar proposals were rejected, setting the stage for a successful compromise between the House and Senate.” The House position was a very low number for the Wildlife Trust Fund. The Senate was willing to go higher. I was able to negotiate a compromise that brought it closer to the Senate position, that I was favoring. The Wyoming Conservation Voters went on to say “This amendment (put forth by Rep. Gingery) demonstrated the persistence, and wisdom, of House supporters of the Wildlife Trust Fund, who continually put forward proposals to increase this program’s funding despite strong opposition from . . . the House floor.” On 3rd Reading, there was an amendment put forth (Amendment #15) to put $10 million in. I knew that there were not the votes on the floor to do that (Failed 23-37), so I quickly worked the floor to find the number that members would be willing to agree to, which turned out to be $5 million. I put forward Amendment #18 that put it at $5 million. I got it passed with only 5 votes to spare (Passed 36-23). We were then able to take this to conference committee with the Senate and turn it into $19.75 million in the final budget. I knew we had to just have a number going into conference committee, so the amount didn’t matter at the time, because I was confident that the Senate would be supportive of a higher number. It took a lot to work the floor and to convince those that voted no on Amendment #15 to switch only a few minutes later to vote for Amendment #18.
Conservation Champion is the highest ranking that the Wyoming Conservation Voters give. Below Conservation Champions, they have Conservation Advocates, and then Room to Grow, and finally the Watch List.
They also hand out “Distinguished Deeds” awards, of which our own Senator Grant Larson was honored for giving the “perennial debate over in-stream flow a big boost this year with co-sponsorship of a deserving reform package. His longstanding interest in Teton County stream health is noticed and appreciated.” Senator Larson and I co-sponsored the bill on instream flow, after hearing from our good friend Greg McHuron and his concerns over instream flow in the Gros Ventre River. Greg McHuron was at last year’s legislative get together with the Wyoming Conservation Voters at the Wort Hotel. It definitely goes to show that the legislators listen. Greg McHuron showed up with a concern and Senator Larson and I put together a bill and argued forcefully for it in the legislature. The League of Conservation Voters are once again hosting a legislator get together in Jackson in order to allow their members to express their concerns and their requests for legislation for the upcoming session. It is at Noon on Tuesday, January 8, 2008. Last year, it was very full, so come early to get a good seat. Jason Marsden is the Executive Director of the Wyoming Conservation Voters, which has clearly become the leading conservation group in Wyoming, specifically because of their high degree of success in the projects that they advocate for. The Wyoming Conservation Voters are also the only conservation group that really focuses on Wyoming issues and working with the Wyoming Legislature. To learn more, they are at wyovoters.org