by Doug Meyenburg, Jr.
At a seminar on lobbying and electioneering sponsored by the Minnesota Council of Non-profits, Mark Rotz, and I learned that PERM can do a surprising amount of lobbying on issues (more than we expected), and a very limited amount of activity related to the election process. For example, we can not financially support, or even endorse candidates for public office. We can do some things like a "get out the vote" effort. In this vein, we feel it is a good idea to have a list of questions prepared to ask your candidates for local, county, state and federal office.
Election 2000 will set the country's course for years to come on issues like the Second Amendment, access to public hunting lands, and federal Indian policy. It is imperative that you chose the candidates who will support our right to keep and bear arms, allow public access to public land, and implement an Indian policy that treats all Americans equally. These issues are dealt with in some form or another at all levels of government.
Take the time to make an educated and informed decision when you go to vote this November. Contact as many of your candidates as possible and ask them where they stand on these issues and other issues important to you. It's easier to do now then ever. Most candidates now have web sites. On many of the web sites you can e-mail the candidates with your questions. If you're still a little afraid of the internet like me, then write them a letter, or better yet see them in person at an event near you. They will be out and about this fall, and they do want your vote. Also, let them know how you stand on the issues. Many times it is only the squeaky wheel that gets the grease. After the election, hold them accountable. Remind them of the promises they made and the positions they took during the campaign. Get involved and become part of the process year round, not just on election day.
The following are a few examples of the questions you should ask your candidates. You will probably want to add several others.
1) Do you believe the Constitution and Bill of Rights should apply to all United States Citizens? Will you support a change in federal Indian policy that extends theses protections to all citizens living on or near Indian reservations?
2) Do you support the State's right and obligation to manage our public natural resources in a manner that treats all citizens equally?
3) Do you support the 2nd Amendment to the United States Constitution? Do you believe that the 2nd Amendment protects the individual citizens right to keep and bear arms?
4) Do you support hunting and fishing as important natural resource management tools on our public land and water? Will you work to protect the traditions of hunting and fishing by supporting a "no net loss" of public hunting land?
Remember to Vote November 7, 2000...
Will you be DEER HUNTING on election day? Don't forgo your right to vote. You can vote by absentee ballot and it's real easy. An absentee ballot conveniently allows you to vote either in person before election day or by mail, without physically having to go to your polling place on election day.
Before October 6th, you can obtain an application to have a ballot sent to you by mail. To do this you must contact your county auditor, or in some instances your city clerk. After October 6th, you can go directly to your county auditor or city clerk and vote. State law requires that all election ballots be printed and available by October 6th. If you have any questions you can call the office of the Secretary of State toll free at 1-877-600-VOTE. You can also visit their web site at www.sos.state.mn.us. They can connect you with your county auditor.
Have a safe and successful hunting season, and be content knowing you have done your part as a citizen and sportsman.