U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, former member of the House Natural Resources Committee from 1997-2011, and Rep. Tim Walz, were recently selected as Co-Chairs of the Mississippi River Caucus.
The Mississippi River Caucus leadership is made up of six co-chairs: Kind, Walz, U.S. Representatives Stephen Fincher (R-TN) and Rick Crawford (R-AR) as well as Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Tom Harkin (D-IA). The primary objective of the Mississippi River Caucus is to provide a bicameral and bipartisan forum for the various issues that affect the entire reach of the Mississippi River. The Caucus will focus on a strong sustainable economy and high quality of life for communities along the main stem of the Mississippi River.
"The Mississippi River plays a vital role in our economy and our quality of life not just in western Wisconsin but in all of states along its path," said Rep. Kind, founder and Co-chair of the Upper Mississippi River Basin Congressional Task Force. "I'm proud to have worked hard on behalf of the river and the farms, businesses, and communities it impacts and look forward to the bipartisan progress we will be able to make as a caucus. Ensuring the protection of the river is vital to the long-term sustainability of the entire Mississippi River Basin."
"The Mississippi River is at the heart of both our nations shipping and sporting industries. For hundreds of years American made goods have followed the snakes and bends down the river's path, while hunters and fisherman have followed its shores," said Rep. Tim Walz, Co-chair Upper Mississippi River Basin Congressional Task Force and Ranking Member of the House Ag Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy, and Forestry. In order for American farmers and manufacturers to stay competitive in a 21st century world economy, we must ensure the Mississippi River continues to provide a safe, modern, efficient, and effective avenue for shipment while balancing the need to maintain its natural character for future generations of sportsmen."
The Mississippi River is the third longest river in the United States, stretching 2,320 miles through the heart of our nation from Lake Itasca in Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. The Mississippi River and its floodplain are rich in biodiversity, as it is home to hundreds of different species of fish, birds, mussels, mammals, amphibians and reptiles. The Mississippi River is also a thriving economic thoroughfare in the United States with billions of tons of cargo being transported up and down the river each year, including grain and other agriculture products, coal, iron, steel, and petroleum products.
Throughout his time in Congress, Kind has made conserving our natural heritage one of the hallmarks of his work, establishing leadership on sportsmen's issues, protecting the Mississippi River, advocating for our National Wildlife Refuge System, and working to maintain conservation funding through the Farm Bill. Kind founded and co-chairs the Upper Mississippi River Basin Congressional Task Force, is Co-Chair of the Mississippi River Caucus and Co-Chair of the National Parks Caucus. He is former Co-Chair of the Congressional Sportsmen Cacus. Kind was named Safari Club International's Legislator of the Year, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) Legislator of the Year, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Conservation Legislator of the Year, National Parks Conservation Association's (NCPA) Friend of the National Parks and received the Teaming with Wildlife Association Award. Rep. Kind is an active outdoorsman and enjoys hunting with his sons on their family farm in western Wisconsin and fishing on the Mississippi River.
Congressman Walz was recently named the Vice Chair of the Congressional Sportsmen Caucus and is an active outdoorsman who enjoys canoeing and hunting pheasants in southern Minnesota. He was chosen by his colleagues as the lead Democrat on the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy, and Forestry for the 113th Congress. Last week, Walz joined a bipartisan group of Minnesota lawmakers, headed up by Senator Klobuchar and Rep. Ellison, to introduce legislation that would fight the spread of Asian Carp in Minnesota, specifically through the Mississippi River.