Maine IF&W Candidates Revealed
Finally! Six candidates for Commissioner of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife are scheduled to be interviewed on Thursday, December 23.
Last Thursday, Governor-elect Paul LePage told me he’d have an IF&W Commissioner by the end of the month, and that interviews were scheduled for this week. For these interviews, LePage has added some people who are not on the Transition Advisory Team.
Among those who will be interviewing candidates are Leo Keiffer of Caribou, a former Republican state Senator and former member of IF&W’s Advisory Council who is representing the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine; Richard Thurston of Scarborough, a current member of IF&W’s Advisory Council; Mike Lee of Denmark, former board member of the National Rifle Association and former President of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine; and Jeff Zimba of Winslow, former SAM Board member and a strong gun advocate.
Although Ann Robinson is in charge of the transition for the natural resource agencies, I’ve been told that Tarren Bragdon will direct Thursday’s IF&W interviews.
The six candidates to be interviewed are:
John Boland, who has worked for thirty-three years in IF&W’s Fisheries Division, rising to Division Director in 2002, and was recently promoted to Director of the Bureau of Resource Management overseeing both the Fisheries and the Wildlife Divisions.
Craig McLaughlin is a former IF&W bear biologist who moved to Utah to take a high-level post in that state’s fish and wildlife agency. He also served at a high level in Vermont’s fish and wildlife agency. Craig retired and moved back in Maine where he now teaches at Unity College.
Tom Pelletier, a State Police Captain in Aroostook County, and a member of a famous family of game wardens and law enforcement officers.
Bill Pierce, IF&W’s former marketing director who is now Development Director for the Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust. Pierce was responsible for many marketing innovations at IF&W and worked on the front lines, attending sportsmen’s shows in and out of the state.
John Whalen, a former game warden who now grows smelts in his home-based hatchery.
Chandler Woodcock is a former State Senator and was the Republican nominee for Governor in 2006. While in the Senate, he served on the Fish and Wildlife Committee and sponsored SAM’s bill that named the Brook Trout as a State Heritage Fish and protected the species in waters that have never been stocked.
It’ll be a long day for the interview team, with interviews beginning at 8:30 a.m. and running through the afternoon at the law offices of Preti Flaherty in Augusta, following which the team is expected to submit up to three names to Governor-elect LePage for this important position.