Jennings Removed From WA Fish And Wildlife Commission

The changes continue on the Washington Fish & Wildlife Commission with the forced removal of one of its members over the weekend. Senator Kirk Pearson says that, as of yesterday, David Jennings is no longer a member.

The head of the upper chamber’s Natural Resources committee which holds confirmation hearings on commissioners, Pearson brought in Jennings earlier this spring. Then, early last Friday morning, the panel moved to push the Olympia bird watcher, scuba diver and environmentalist’s appointment to the Senate floor without a recommendation, effectively dooming Jennings’ term.

DAVID JENNINGS.

“For the sportsmen of Washington, Jennings was too much of a polarizing figure, and we don’t need that on the Fish & Wildlife Commission,” said the North Cascades Republican.

During a brief Senate floor discussion on a formal request by Governor Jay Inslee to return the appointment to his office, Senator Karen Fraser, an Olympia Democrat, expressed support for Jennings.

Groups on either side had pushed senators to deny and support his term.

He was appointed by Governor Gregoire in June 2009. During his confirmation hearing in late March of this year, Jennings said that he wanted to increase financial support for the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife from nonconsumptive users. Pearson grilled him about why he wanted to close some fisheries near Neah Bay, and whether he was posting anonymously to websites to gather support for regulation changes he wanted.

It means that there are now two open seats on the commission.

In December 2011, Jay Kehne was appointed to an Eastern Washington seat, but that didn’t go over well with some in 509erland because of his part-time employment with Conservation Northwest in Bellingham. A fix was figured out: With Gary Douvia’s current term expiring at the end of the 2012, Kehne was moved into the Kettle Fall accountant’s at-large seat, and on Sunday, the state Senate confirmed the Omak man’s appointment through 2019 by a 31-13 (with five excused) vote.

Earlier this year, the full Senate confirmed the appointments of Larry Carpenter of Mount Vernon and Conrad Mahnken of Bainbridge Island.

A third commissioner, Chuck Perry of Moses Lake, has been sent a letter from the governor that he would be replaced but could continue to serve until then.

An announcement on replacement commissioners is expected from Governor Jay Inslee’s the Department of Fish & Wildlife this week.

“I’ll be watching it,” Pearson said.

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