Lifelong hunter and angler, policy expert and former chief of staff for Sen. Max Baucus
will lead conservation policy initiatives for sportsmen’s group.
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WASHINGTON – Paul Wilkins has joined the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership as the TRCP’s chief conservation officer. A native Montanan, Wilkins spent a decade working with Max Baucus, former U.S. senator and current U.S. ambassador to China, where he most recently served as Baucus’ chief of staff.
“The TRCP stands to gain enormously from Paul’s impressive skills and expertise, and we are very glad to have him join our team,” said TRCP President and CEO Whit Fosburgh. “His leadership of our conservation work – both in directing our existing initiatives and identifying new opportunities – will play a crucial role in implementing federal policies that expand access for the public, including sportsmen, and conserve healthy fish and wildlife habitat.”
During his tenure with Baucus, Wilkins rose from fellow to conservation and energy legislative assistant and legislative director before being appointed chief of staff, where he oversaw the senator’s legislative, communications, administrative and constituent services activities.
“I’m thrilled to be joining the professional team at the TRCP,” said Wilkins. “From tightening conservation compliance rules in the latest Farm Bill to fighting for increased funding for conservation programs, the TRCP has been punching above its weight and delivering conservation victories for sportsmen and -women. I’m eager to put my experience to good use making sure the voices of the more than 30 million American sportsmen and -women are heard in Washington.”
D.C. political insiders from both sides of the aisle lauded Wilkins’ policy acumen.
“No one knows the intersection of politics and conservation better than Paul,” said Jim Messina, President Obama’s former deputy chief of staff and 2012 campaign manager. “The TRCP is primed to make conservation a top tier issue.”
Bruce Josten, executive vice president of government affairs for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, agreed. “Paul knows policy and politics,” said Josten. “His strong bipartisan streak served him well and enabled him to skillfully advance ideas in a very difficult, polarizing environment on Capitol Hill. His knowledge and personal skills combine to make for a valuable asset at today’s intersection of government and stakeholders.”
Wilkins grew up on a sheep ranch in Melstone, Montana, where his childhood included annual fishing trips with his family in the Beartooth Mountains and elk hunting in the Missouri Breaks. He received a bachelor’s degree from Gonzaga University and a master’s from Fordham University.
“Over its relatively brief history, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership has made significant gains in advancing federal policy that benefits not only sportsmen but also the public at large,” said Dave Perkins, chair of the TRCP board of directors and vice chairman of The Orvis Company. “Paul Wilkins joins the TRCP at a pivotal moment, and his background and talents will be instrumental in our continued and increasing success in the name of American sportsmen and our nation’s irreplaceable outdoor heritage.”