COLUMBUS, Ohio — Hundreds of Ohioans attended the Ohio Sportsmen’s Alliance 2019 Rally Saturday night. Lt. Gov. Jon Husted and Director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Mary Mertz joined the Alliance for their 23rd annual event.
Also attending were members of President Donald Trump’s campaign team, including Madison Gesiotto.
Linda Walker, one of the two Ohioans serving on the NRA’s Board of Directors, was also in attendance. Walker spoke to The Ohio Star about the event, saying “it’s always a great gathering of sportsmen and patriots.”
The Alliance says the rally is “a chance for sportsmen to meet the people who lead Ohio’s wildlife decision making efforts, and give input on the impact those decisions will have on the future of conservation and wildlife management.”
Evan Heusinkveld, president and CEO of the Alliance, said that “this is the largest gathering of Ohio’s top sportsmen leaders to raise money to defend the rights of people to hunt, fish and trap.”
Craig Henderson was the organizer of the event. When asked about his new role as Manager of Field Operations he said, “I love it. It’s a lot of fun. I get to plan events and help with fundraising for an organization I truly believe in.”
People came from all over Ohio to win prizes, including dozens of firearms, hunting equipment and a Brittany puppy, shop at a live auction and enjoy a great dinner at Villa Milano.
Just before dinner the room shared the pledge of allegiance and a prayer.
A key theme of the evening was how things have changed for the better after years of thin resources. President Heusinkveld, Director Mertz and Lt. Gov. Husted all spoke to the dire situation that existed prior to the new administration. They shared how Ohio was on the verge of selling off significant portions of public land, but things changed with Gov. DeWine’s budget.
Lt. Gov. Husted took a moment to speak with The Ohio Star about the event and the funding dedicated to Ohio’s natural resources.
“I feel at home with the men and women that are here because my favorite thing in the world is hunting and fishing,” he said. “I’m glad that Gov. DeWine and I were able to work with the General Assembly to set aside resources to preserve the AEP hunting and recreational area and resources for new wetlands across the state, especially near Lake Erie, and to make sure we hire new wild life officers to ensure the integrity of our natural resources.”
Ohio Sportsmen’s Alliance began nearly four decades ago. The purpose is “to protect and advance our outdoor heritage of hunting, fishing, trapping and shooting in all 50 state legislatures, in the courts, in Congress and at the ballot box. As Sportsmen’s Alliance’s work continues to grow stronger so too has the animal rights movement.”
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