With the retirement of Senator Alexander, a race is on to become Tennessee’s next senator.
It’s up to sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts to let candidates know that the great outdoors is an important voting issue. So, Tennessee Wildlife Federation asked every candidate to share their views on conservation, and below are the responses we received.
Below are the views of candidate Dean Hill. All answers, information, and images are unedited and appear as they were provided by the campaign.
Primary voting ends August 6. Find your polling location here.
About Dean Hill
I am a veteran from the US Army, Federal Agent, business owner, and family man. I enjoy books, puzzles, learning, working on cars, and doing home construction. I speak 3 languages, have a degree in psychology, and am currently in the last semester of a Masters in Strategic Leadership. I love doing anything outdoors, as do my children. I believe that we are ambassadors, stewards, and protectors of nature. I have very much love and close views to the Indians and Christian thought of taking what is necessary and then giving back to the land.
Federation: Do you have a favorite public land in Tennessee? What do you enjoy doing there?
Hill: Natchez Trace is beautiful but I could not pick between any park. We have many beautiful places that I stop at when travelling. I am blessed with many Parks in Franklin TN. Looking at the scenery, cooking out, fishing, and camping. Camping usually happens in Gatlinburg. My children spend many days a week playing in parks.
Federation: There are a lot of issues facing our natural resources and the Tennesseans who depend on them for recreation and their livelihood. Please rank these issues in the order they are most important to you and please explain the reason for your number one pick.
- Support for private land management for wildlife
- Federal funding and other support to combat Chronic Wasting Disease in deer
- Fund adequate responses to non-native invasive species, like Asian carp
- Implement high-impact aquatic habitat projects to improve our waters
- Invest in wildlife management to prevent endangered and threatened species
- Strategic public lands growth and access for conservation and recreation
Hill: It is not fair for either of us if I speak ignorantly on this subject. They are all very important and I would have to research the land, revenue, and statistics. Up front, I cannot say that one is more important than the other, as the ecosystem is fragile and one thing effects the other.
Federation: Last fall, a Tennessee Wildlife Federation-led effort successfully secured $25 million of federal funding to fight Asian carp. It is a one-time appropriation that is split among several states. If you are elected, how would you support similar efforts? What you would do differently?
Hill: I would get all the facts and statistics while surveying the maps and personally walking the land. As a fisherman and Science lover, I know how much of a rupture invasive species can make on an ecosystem. Money and time cannot be lost on quick uneducated decisions. My decision must also be timely but I want to adequately capture the species without injuring fauna or flora.
Federation: As a senator, what would you do for our natural resources, from public lands to wildlife and water, that are held in the public trust—that are collectively owned by all Americans?
Hill: Life begins with water. I will begin there too. America has been cheated by corporations and the government allowing contamination in the waterways. Early Americans left a contaminated Europe because they could not drink their own water. When I was a boy, one could catch fish in TN and eat them freely. Now, I would have to be starving before I would take the chance after Monsanto and others have contaminated our waterways. I would fight tooth and nail to stop contamination. Healthy water, healthy ecosystem.
Federation: Tennessee Wildlife Federation operates a number of programs to improve the great outdoors and Tennesseans’ lives, including habitat restoration work, Hunters for the Hungry, and even creating new sportsmen through Hunting and Fishing Academy. What support would you look to provide as a senator?
Hill: As much hands-on support as possible. We are connected to the land. Humans are happiest with sun giving them vitamin D, soil energizing their feet, and fresh food/water filling their bellies. I would love to have a conversation with these departments and promote them.
Federation: A significant number of Tennessee streams, rivers, and lakes are unable to support healthy aquatic life. What would you do as Senator to heal this backbone of our environment and many local economies in the state?
Hill: This is something close to my heart. I swam and fished these rivers as a child. I am appalled that companies have been allowed to contaminate our lifeblood. Thermal and chemical leakage, spillage, and legal dumping needs to be curtailed immediately. The fines should equal the devastation caused. I will introduce new legislature to hold these companies and people accountable.
Federation: What did we not ask you today that you’d tell Tennessee’s outdoor enthusiasts?
Hill: I love Tennessee because of the natural resources. Our resources would be coveted by any nation or state. We must protect them with a level head. I am a lover of animals, but realize that sometimes the deer population must be lowered because of sickness or sustainability. People need to have life skills and need to understand how our fauna and flora work in an ecosystem or one day their may be no food and no understanding of how to cultivate it. It is important for our mind, body, and soul for us to connect with this earth and take what is necessary from it while being good stewards and giving back.