I got this in an e-mail so I guess it should be ok to post it here. Swann will get my vote.
Mark Nale #433 Sept. 17, 2006
Afield Centre Daily Times
Gubernatorial Candidate Lynn Swann Addresses Outdoor Issues
Republican gubernatorial candidate and former Pittsburgh Steeler wide receiver Lynn Swann met with a small group of outdoor writers in State College last Sunday. Swann announced his endorsement by the National Rifle Association. ďThe NRA has confidence in me to enforce the laws. We can move forward [against crime] without taking away the rights of legitimate gun owners,Ē Swann said.
He made a brief address in which he spoke about his youth, background, and sporting history. Swann talked about fishing and camping trips in California with his father and his early deer and small game hunting experiences in Greene County, Pennsylvania, while he played with the Steelers. He is married, has two sons, age 8 and 10, and his home is near Pittsburgh. He touched on a recent visit to Denali National Park in Alaska, his attendance at a recent youth shooting event, and gun owner rights.
Swann then opened the floor to questions. Discussion covered environmental as well as hunting issues.
Q -- Governor Rendell seems pretty intent on developing some of our state parks with lodges and other things. How do you feel about that?
Lynn Swann Ė Having a lot of lodges doesnít necessarily help the natural habitat. I think that we could develop lodges (for people who donít want to camp) on the fringe territory, but not necessarily inside. We want to be careful. Once you build a lodge, you start to impede on that natural habitat. Once you change the natural habitat, getting it back takes longer than it does to destroy it.
Q -- As governor, what would you bring to the table for the sportsmen Ė hunters, anglers and also the non-consumptive users?
LS Ė I bring honesty as an approach. I think that we can create a balance where we can provide and maintain the environment for hunters, for fishermen, and for people who want to hike and just enjoy the outdoors, so it is there for all of us. In that process, I think that we need to promote it more to get people to understand what there is and what is available and how we can use it. Maintaining and controlling deer and elk herds for people just to watch in their natural habitat is important. You still need to be able to control them because agriculture is the number one industry in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Uncontrolled deer and elk herds can do destruction to crops and property. We need to have a balance.
Q -- How do you feel about locating giant electricity-generating windmills on state forest and state game lands?
LS Ė I donít know if we want more or less of it. We have to look at alternative energy sources in Pennsylvania, as the rest of the nation should. All things are on the table. What would the impact on the environment be from locating them on state game lands? What would the effect be on our deer populations and other animals in the forest? Those are the things we want to be careful of, and I want to know what the impact would be prior to moving forward.
Q Ė A new law has been proposed that would limit handgun purchases to one per month. Do you favor this?
LS Ė This idea has been promoted by one city in the Commonwealth Ė Philadelphia, where there is a high homicide rate. We want to decrease homicide, but I donít think that the answer is one gun a month. We need to have rules that would be effective for all of Pennsylvania. I think that rule would be unnecessary and unfair. We already have rules on the books to protect people. We need to enforce them.
Q -- Do you think that the governor and other politicians should get involved in micro-managing the Game Commission on issues such as the deer population?
LS Ė I donít think that the governor can micro-manage the entire state. You want to have a good Game Commission that understands where Pennsylvania needs to go. The deer population is important to hunters. We want to maintain a good deer population and do what is right to make sure that we get the right information. If you asked me if the deer population is healthy based on what Iíve seen, Iíd say absolutely. When I get home, I see 8 to 16 deer running around in my yard. Look at the plants in my yard - theyíve all been eaten. Iíve also seen a good number of bucks, but that doesnít mean that we have those kind of numbers throughout Pennsylvania. We need to get the right information Ė more fly-overs, more accurate information. We should gather it. We should work to maintain a balance in the deer herd for hunting and agriculture. The governor should always have the ability to step in if there is an impasse.
Q -- Do we currently have the right people in the Game Commission?
LS Ė Iím all for evaluating things and making sure that we have a process that works.
Q Ė How do you feel about merging the Game Commission with the Fish & Boat Commission or DCNR?
LS Ė Iím not looking to merge them. We can save money through efficiencies, but creating one larger organization isnít always better. I favor keeping them separate and not enduring the cost of making a merger at this time. I donít see a merger anywhere down the road.
Q Ė License dollars canít continue to support the commissions in their current form. Infrastructure needs, such as dams, are not being repaired or replaced. How would you address these financial issues?
LS Ė Number one, Iíd see how the funds are currently being used. I canít tell you, for example, that the money from Growing Greener has gone to the places that it needs to go. When I become governor, Iíd want to look at this closely. All things will be on the table. We could also look at a small tax increase on ammo and sports-related items and activities.
Q Ė Would you consider alternate funding for the PGC, like a small portion of the state sales tax?
LS Ė The cost of hunting and fishing licenses is fairly modest. I would promote Pennsylvania hunting and fishing outside of the state and that will bring in additional revenue. Frankly, I think that we can do a better job promoting that outside of the state. I was recently in Cook Forest State Park and rode trails on mountain bikes with my sons. What a tremendous place! Iíve been in Pennsylvania since 1974, so why didnít I know about this place? We need to do a better job of letting people know about these places. Letís increase revenue by getting more people involved before we start trying to tax a lot of people. We do need to make sure that we have enough money so that we can keep our game lands and continue to provide oversight to protect animals and to provide funding for research.
Q Ė As governor, would you sign into law a license increase for the Game Commission?
LS Ė Yes, as long as it was reasonable. We certainly need more funding for the commission.
Q Ė Did you buy a hunting license this year?
LS Ė Yes, but this is a campaign year for me and I probably wonít get to hunt.
Q Ė Is it fair to assume that since you are meeting with the outdoor press, that you would like to be portrayed as a hunter and an angler?
LS Ė It is not about being portrayed as a hunter or angler, it is something that Iíve done. It is something that I do. I havenít hunted deer for a while and Iíve never killed a buck. When I get a chance to hunt, Iíll hunt Ė itís great. It was also great to be able to shoot [sporting] clays recently. It was nice to see that I still have that skill set. I didnít use my own shotgun, but I do own several guns. I just bought a compound bow for my sons. Iím not trying to create a false picture here. Iím not going to hunt deer for a photo op Ė I donít think that is necessary. Iíve never joined the NRA, but I received their endorsement. People want integrity. They want to know who you are and what you are all about. I think that I can work well with the outdoor community. I certainly want to promote outdoor activities.