Senate Rules Committee Chair Rejects Governor’s Controversial Nomination to Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission

Conservation groups decried Brown's decision to put Nash in a position to help set state policy on wolves.

State Sen. Ginny Burdick (D-Portland) has responded to withering criticism of Gov. Kate Brown's nomination of trophy hunter James Nash to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission by declining to bring Nash's name forward for  consideration.

The Senate Rules Committee will consider all of Brown's nominees to state-wide boards and commissions May 8 but when the committee posted its agenda for that meeting today, Nash's name was missing.

A spokeswoman for Brown says the governor had nothing to do with that decision.

"The Governor did not withdraw Capt. Nash," Brown's spokeswoman, Kate Kondayen tells WW. "The committee chair [Burdick] moved four names forward, and more questions on that process are best answered by the chair."

A spokesman for Burdick decline to comment.

A rancher and hunting guide from Enterprise, Ore., Nash, a retired Army captain, also hunts big game in Africa and has shared photos of his kills on social media.

Related: Gov. Kate Brown Picked a Big-Game Hunter to Serve on the Board That Manages Oregon's Wolves

His nomination—at a time when the ODFW commission is considering a draft wolf-management plan—infuriated wildlife conservation groups, who highlighted Nash's hunting activities and noted that his father, Wallowa County Commissioner Todd Nash, has been the Oregon Cattlemen's spokesman in opposition to the re-introduction of wolves into Oregon.

In response to Brown's nomination of Nash, Steve Pedery, the conservation of the non-profit Oregon Wild, told WW that the governor appeared to be abandoning her previous commitment to scientific management of the state's wildlife habitat.

"Appointing James Nash is a giant middle finger to the conservation community," Pedery told WW last month. "It's like putting Donald Trump Jr. on an electoral reform commission."

Today, Pedery applauded Burdick's decision, although he says he remains disappointed that Brown nominated Nash in the first place.

"Congratulations to Sen. Burdick for taking a terrible slate of candidates and removing the worst one," Pedery says. "It's a baby step forward. This is better than where we were but with a draft wolf plan on the table that contemplates sport hunting of wolves, it's still not good."