Joan Hurlock has fished all her life. She remembers accompanying her father on some of his outings as a California Fish and Game commissioner, and playing in the woods near her house with her dog. This fall, she took her son on an elk hunt.
But is that enough to qualify her to serve on the Idaho Fish and Game Commission?
On Monday, the Senate Resources and Conservation Committee focused largely on Hurlocks qualifications and experience, and senators quizzed Gov. Butch Otters appointee to the Fish and Game Commission on her beliefs.
A California native, Hurlock has lived in Buhl for 10 years. She is a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association and a former member of Ducks Unlimited and the Audubon Society.
Hurlock has faced criticism for being a California native and for not getting a hunting license every year she has lived in Idaho.
As children, we dont get to choose where we were born and where we were raised, she said during the confirmation hearing. As an adult she chose to live in Idaho, she said, largely because of its outdoor opportunities.
Committee members grilled Hurlock on her views on wolves, ATVs, private property access and salmon. Sen. Michelle Stennett, D-Ketchum, pointed out that this type questioning wasnt normal for gubernatorial appointees.
We dont do this with all the people in front of us, she said. I appreciate your time and patience with this.
ACCUSATIONS, CRITICISMS OF PROCESS
Members of the public came to testify for and against Hurlock, including supporter Billee Dinges of Castleford.
I felt that when there was literature being passed around that was negative and underhanded, it was time to get involved, Dinges said, referring to a flier distributed to lawmakers that said Hurlock should have never passed as one being remotely qualified for the position.
Sportsmen Chantelle and Jevon Benson of Jerome said they didnt feel Hurlock was qualified to be a commissioner.
I know that many feel that this is men vs. women, but its really not, Chantelle Benson said. Doug Palmer of Twin Falls agreed, saying her appointment was a great injustice.
She doesnt understand the issues and we dont have time to train her, so she would not be fit for appointment, Palmer said.
Barbs werent reserved for Hurlock.
Jack Oyler, who served on the selection committee that considered candidates, accused the governors staff of withholding recommendation letters for other candidates and ordering members of the interview committee to recommend Hurlock to the governor. Bonnie Butler, senior special assistant to the governor, later said one late-arriving letter didnt get into the binders, but was distributed to committee members. She said that no one was ordered to recommend Hurlock.
Dyke Nally, chairman of the selection committee, defended the process and said all candidates went through rigorous interviews.
The process is more sophisticated now and more structured than it ever has been, Nally said.
Regardless of how the committee votes on Wednesday morning, the appointment will go to the Senate floor.
Hurlock said she was glad to get the opportunity to rebut the information being spread about her.
I just wanted to be heard and given a fair shot at it, she said.