State Game Commission member Gail Cramer, of Mayhill, unexpectedly resigned this week. It comes just months after the sudden death of Commissioner David Soules, of Las Cruces, which means Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham now has two commissioners to appoint. We hope the governor will choose well-rounded replacements who represent all New Mexico hunters and anglers, and to avoid the urge to appoint individuals based solely on their political value.
After Lujan Grisham was elected in 2018, NM BHA sent her a letter regarding the Game Commission, including traits we hoped she would consider when filling those seven seats and a list of projects we hoped they would tackle. We could not have been happier with her choices. It was the most diverse commission ever, packed with individuals who were not only experienced hunter/anglers but who would base their decisions on science, modern views of wildlife management and transparency.
For the most part, the commission has acted exactly as we had hoped. But that could change, depending on who the governor appoints. The Game Commission is at a tipping point, and the governor’s choices to fill the seats of Gail Cramer and David Soules are crucial.
Once again, we ask Gov. Lujan Grisham to choose wisely. NM BHA believes we need commissioners who:
- Have a long history of hunting and fishing in New Mexico;
- Will represent not just their immediate constituents – in Cramer’s case, Southeast New Mexico; in Soules’s case, the conservation community – but all New Mexico residents;
- Are committed to science-based wildlife management and transparency; and
- Have no conflicts of interest regarding issues currently on the Game Commission’s agenda.
The State Game Commission has a huge role in New Mexico. It not only manages game species, but increasingly non-game species as well. We need a Game Commission with vision and the willingness to take on a challenging future, from the effects of climate change to the need for a more equitable system of allocating big game licenses. The governor showed, in 2019, that she could do the right thing for New Mexico hunters and anglers. We need her to do it again now. Just as importantly, however, she needs to let those commissioners work with no interference from her office.