The natural resources commission, created and established by provisions of section three of this article, shall be a public benefit corporation and as such may sue and be sued, plead and be impleaded, contract and be contracted with, and have and use a common seal. It shall be a commission advisory to the director and to the department of natural resources. The commission shall be composed of seven members, known as commissioners, one from each congressional district and the remainder from the state at large, appointed by the Governor, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. Their terms of office shall begin on July 1, and shall be for a period of seven years, except that the Governor in making the initial appointments shall designate and define their respective terms of office so that the term of one member of the commission will expire each year. As initial appointments expire, all subsequent appointments shall be for terms of seven years or for the unexpired term of a member who may have died, resigned or become disqualified.
The members of the commission shall be citizens and residents of the state, selected with special reference to their training and experience in relation to the principal activities required of the commission, and for their ability and fitness to perform their duties within the purposes of this chapter. No member of the commission shall be a candidate for or hold any public office other than that of member of the commission; nor shall he be a member of any committee of a political party. In case a member becomes a candidate for or accepts appointment to any public office or political party committee, his office as member of the commission shall be immediately vacated.