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 James Mackler. 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 James Mackler
James Mackler closed his law practice to join the U.S. Army after 9/11. He earned an age waiver, learned to fly Black Hawk helicopters, and did so in Iraq. Following his deployment, James became a JAG officer, protecting survivors of sexual assault and prosecuting criminals. Today, James is running for Tennessee’s open Senate seat for the same reason he joined the army – he sees our country in crisis and is stepping forward to serve.
Federation: Do you have a favorite public land in Tennessee? What do you enjoy doing there?
Mackler: My wife and I cherish taking our two daughters and our rescue pup to Warner Park every Sunday for a family hike. I know we must be good stewards of public lands so my daughters and kids across Tennessee are able to enjoy them for years to come.
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.
- Strategic public lands growth and access for conservation and recreation
- 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
- Federal funding and other support to combat Chronic Wasting Disease in deer
- Support for private land management for wildlife
Public lands must remain in public hands so all Tennesseans are able to benefit from and experience the natural beauty our state has to offer. In the Senate, I’ll seek a committee assignment on the Senate’s Environment & Public Works Committee to ensure Tennessee continues to have a voice on all of these vitally important issues and help ensure Tennesseans can enjoy our outdoors for generations to come.
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?
Mackler: My campaign is and has always been about listening to Tennesseans about what they need, and in many cases what they are not getting, from Washington. That’s the type of senator I’ll be. Securing a one-time investment to address a serious, multi-state issue, is a good start, and working with groups like the Tennessee Wildlife Federation, I’ll fight to secure stable funding streams to reduce the presence of Asian carp and encourage the rehabilitation of native species like bass and mussels.
In the Senate, I will continue listening to Tennesseans and learning about what they need and are not getting from Washington. In consultation with groups like the Tennessee Wildlife Federation, I will fight to secure the appropriate funding needed to reduce the presence of Asian carp and encourage the rehabilitation of native species like bass and mussels.
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?
Mackler: It’s our turn to be responsible stewards of America’s public lands, and work towards ensuring future generations can do the same. Public lands need to remain in public hands. In the Senate, I’ll oppose efforts to sell public lands or profit from expanding natural resource extraction on public lands.
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?
Mackler: Investing in programs that encourage Tennesseans to enjoy all that our state has to offer is something I will do in the Senate. As Tennessee’s next senator, I’ll support these programs by helping TWF secure federal funds to allow their programs to flourish — and by being a participant (if you’ll have me!).
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?
Mackler: The federal government has a role to play in cleaning up Tennessee streams, rivers and lakes and investing in things like restoration efforts to make these bodies of water functioning again and to create aquatic environments that support and sustain healthy populations of fish and other aquatic species. Many Tennesseans rely on our natural resources for their livelihoods and I will work to protect and repair these vital resources in the Senate.
Federation: What did we not ask you today that you’d tell Tennessee’s outdoor enthusiasts?
Mackler: Whether it be rock climbing, hiking or swimming in our state’s many bodies of water, Tennessee’s public lands are an integral part of my family’s life, and a deeply meaningful bond I share with my daughters. Our natural beauty must be protected and preserved for future generations, and I cannot wait to do my part to make it happen as a member of the Senate and the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee.