Feb. 23 brought us face-to-face with Sen. Mitch McConnell. We attended his paid-access luncheon and denounced Senate Joint Resolution 18, a measure that would open National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska to unethical forms of hunting. It follows House Joint Resolution 69 and would complete Congress’ latest bridge to nowhere — a “nowhere” of wildlife mismanagement.
Remember Rep. Don Young, who proposed a $400-million bridge to connect a tiny Alaskan city to its airport? He’s having better luck with his anti-wildlife measure, and he has Alaska’s senators behind him.
We told McConnell about the slaughtering of wolf pups and bear cubs while they hibernate, and Alaska eco-tourists outspending hunters 5 to 1. We would’ve said plenty more, but after two minutes of face-time, we still had to ask for his no vote.
McConnell’s response was chilling. He admitted knowing little about the resolution, but said his vote would follow Alaska senators. Then an aide beckoned him, and we departed. So McConnell will advance SJR 18, and President Donald Trump will sign it.
The senator will miss a great opportunity. A principled stand on animal protection (an issue that should be nonpartisan) would foster bipartisanship on Capitol Hill. But nothing changes.
Karlyn Schnapp and Sean Pronay