JUNEAU — The Legislature narrowly rejected the appointment of Allen Barrette, a Fairbanks trapper, to the state's Board of Game.
Debate among lawmakers fell generally along party lines, with points reflecting those made by residents in the days leading to Friday's vote. But several lawmakers crossed the aisle to vote; Barrette was rejected 27-31.
Opponents of Barrette's appointment lobbied Juneau hard, calling him an “extremist” who would tilt the board in favor of pro-hunting interests.
But two Interior Republicans on Friday characterized him as a hardworking and qualified addition to the seven-member board. Rep. Mike Kelly defended Barrette's commercial hunting interests and applauded Barrette's decision to acknowledge them.
"I think that's a recommendation, that this guy knows something about (hunting and trapping), cares something about it and has declared it," Kelly said.
Rep. Tammie Wilson, R-North Pole, also defended Barrette.
Gov. Sean Parnell nominated Barrette, the 44-year-old owner of Fairbanks Fur Tannery, in February. Barrette then provided the swing vote at his first board meeting in Fairbanks as the panel erased a no-trapping buffer zone on the eastern side of Denali National Park and Preserve, a vote that rankled opponents.
Many of the dozens of Barrette's public opponents had said his active commercial hunting and trapping interests create too strong a personal and professional interest for Barrette to serve as an effective policymaker. Others said they question past biblical statements from Barrette regarding man’s role in managing wildlife and his generally pro-hunting stances.