20th Annual NASC
Arizona Game and Fish Department
David Fernandez is the Legislative Policy Administrator for the Arizona Game and Fish Department. A resident of Arizona for more than thirty years, his appreciation of intricate natural systems and an inclination toward the sciences led him to pursue a degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Arizona where a surprise invitation to apply for a legislative internship with the State Senate nudged him in the direction of government affairs.
David spent the next five years and five legislative sessions in the Senate’s nonpartisan research department working with issues ranging from routine tax law updates to the codification of rideshare statues allowing Uber and Lyft to operate legally in Arizona. In 2016 he joined the Arizona Game and Fish Department to put his skills to work in aid of conservation and outdoor recreation.
In the years following David has been part of a small team at the intersection of conservation and government spearheading the Department’s sustained efforts to modernize statute and accomplish major shifts such as empowering the Arizona Game and Fish Commission to set its fees through a public rulemaking process, defending against well-intentioned but potentially disastrous legislative measures such as mandatory discounts, and frequently working with groups and individuals to show how politics truly affect conservation. In addition, David regularly serves at the pleasure of the director on special projects including the ten-year sunset review and “renewal” of the agency, five-year reviews of the agency’s administrative rules concerning licensing and the take of game, legislative budgetary review of capital projects, and the formulation of the Game and Fish Department’s annual state budget requests. David can be found at the Department’s clay target ranges whenever a spare minute and weather allow.