Close Call for Vice-Chair Vermillion
Commissioner Vermillion was run through the ringer last week first losing his seat and then regaining it, in what turned out to be a political showdown in Helena.  Check out these articles as reported by the Billings Gazette to catch up on the story:
Part 1:

Senate denies Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commissioner Dan Vermillion a second term

April 26, 2011

In what was mainly a party-line vote, Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commissioner Dan Vermillion of Livingston was denied a second term on a 24-26 vote by the Senate on Tuesday.

Vermillion, vice chairman of the commission, represented District 2 in southwestern Montana.

On the same day, by a 44-6 vote, the Senate approved A.T. “Rusty” Stafne, of Wolf Point, to a four-year term on the commisison. He will replace Willie Doll as the District 4 commissioner for northeastern Montana. The five commissioners are recommended for the position by the governor.

In an email to sportsmen, Ben Lamb of the Montana Wildlife Federation, wrote, “The vote against Dan is the cap on what has been one of the most blatant assaults on the North American Model. Dan became the last pound of flesh that those who came to this Legislature to privatize our public resource were able to carve off. This vote, as political as it was, truly reflects the lack of understanding about both the commission’s job, and Dan Vermillion as a person. No one on the commission has worked as hard as Dan to reduce conflict between hunters, anglers, landowners and outfitters. No one has been as forward thinking in elk management as Dan has, and no one has been as approachable, humble, and honest as Dan.”

Sportsmen had been encouraged to lobby in support of Vermillion, but some Yellowstone County residents had reservations because of his support for more restrictive catch-and-release restrictions for trout on the Yellowstone River.

Vermillion, a former Billings attorney, runs Sweetwater Travel Co. in Livingston with his two brothers. The business matches anglers to fishing lodges around the world. A well-known fly-fishing guide, Vermillion taught President Barack Obama to fly fish during his trip to Montana.

Check out the article on line.

Part 2:

Senate turnaround confirms wildlife appointee

HELENA — The Senate renewed the term of the Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission’s vice chairman after refusing his appointment at the beginning of the week.

Gov. Brian Schweitzer over the winter reappointed Dan Vermillion, a fishing guide from Livingston who taught President Barack Obama how to fly-fish.

Lawmakers on Thursday accepted Vermillion’s appointment on a 27-23 vote on their last day.

Those opposing the appointment vented plenty of anger at the department.

Several senators say they will oppose any reconfirmation bid to the commission because they believe the department has been poorly run.

Supporters of Vermillion’s confirmation said he works to resolve some of the conflict around the department.

The commission is comprised of representatives from five geographical districts who are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate.

Check out the article on line.

Congratulations Dan and keep up the good work on the Commission.

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