Montana State Senate District 36 Senator Debby Barrett and House District 71 Representative Ray Shaw met with the Madison County Commissioners on Monday afternoon for a legislative listening session to give them insight into the important issues they will face during the upcoming 63rd session of the Montana Legislature.
One of the most controversial issues Barrett and Shaw will take to the legislature this spring is wolf management and the level of involvement by the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Many people throughout the state have questioned FWP’s use of more than $900,000 allocated to them for wolf management, including approximately $628,000 that pays for five wolf management specialists.
FWP’s original plan for 15 breeding pairs with approximately 150 wolves was surpassed long ago, and with current minimum estimates from the agency coming in at more than 650 animals, the state’s wolf population has grown out of control.
Barrett plans on attending another listening session with representatives from Jefferson County on Dec. 27 before the legislative session officially begins on Jan. 7.
“I try to make it to any meetings that I can, not just with county commissioners. If any group in my district wants to meet, I try and hear them. That’s who I work for. So the more people I can listen to and hear their expectations and their fears and what they need this session, what’s important to them, that’s what benefits me,” Barrett said.
“If it doesn’t benefit southwestern Montana, I’m not going to vote for it. That’s the way I look at it.”