Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Calling your Senators is more effective now

(Originally an email I received from an online smoke shop vendor.)



THE SITUATION: Right now there is legislation pending in the United States Senate - the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act of 2009 ("PACT Act") (S.1147) which contains, among other bad ideas, a provision to make ALL cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products non-mailable.

WHAT THIS MEANS TO YOU: By making all cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products non-mailable, the Senate is ensuring you will no longer be able to purchase these products by mail-order, telephone order, and/or the Internet because the United States Postal Service will be prohibited from delivering your orders to you. Taking away your options means forcing you back to buying over-priced tobacco products from your local retailer once again.

WHY WE NEED YOUR HELP: Native American cigarette and tobacco sellers are committed to doing everything we can to stop the PACT Act but we need your help. Your Senators work for you and as their constituents, it is your voice and your vote that counts!

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Contact your Senators and tell them not to pass the PACT Act. Your Senators should be protecting your interests, but it is up to you to let them know what you think about the PACT Act. There are three easy ways to contact your Senators - by telephone, email, or regular mail - all of which are explained below. Every state has two Senators - please remember to contact BOTH Senators for your state. At this point time is a big factor, so a phone call is by far the best means to use.

YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO EXPRESS YOUR OPINION: As an American Citizen, it is your right to let your Senators know how you feel about any action Congress takes. You elected your Senators to represent you and they can only do this if you tell them what you want. When you contact your Senator you do not need to identify yourself as a smoker or as someone who purchases cigarettes and/or smokeless tobacco products by mail-order, telephone-order, and/or the Internet. You only need to identify yourself as a resident of the state they represent.


THE POSTAL SERVICE: The price of stamps is being raised practically every year. The PACT Act will take an entire class of legal, non-hazardous goods and make them non-mailable. What this means is a huge loss of business (potentially hundreds of millions of dollars) for the Postal Service. Will they continue to raise the price of stamps and other mail services to compensate for their lost income? The United States Postal Service is already suffering a fiscal crisis due to the downturn in the economy. If the PACT Act is passed and millions of dollars of revenue are taken away, there could be serious consequences for consumers, including reducing the number of delivery days from 6 per week down to 5 or perhaps only 4 days per week.

COST: When the PACT Act of 2003 (S.1177) passed the Senate, the Congressional Budget Office prepared a Cost Estimate for the Bill. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the PACT Act of 2003 would cost about $140 MILLION over the 2004-2008 period to enforce. $140 Million over four years - and that estimate is already six years old. How much will the PACT Act of 2009 cost to enforce? Isn't there a better way to spend our tax dollars?


1. Tell your Senators that you are one of their constituents and provide an address so they know where in the state you are from. Since anyone can contact a Senator, it is important that you let your Senators know that you live and vote in their home state. Because the Senators receive so much communication, calls and mail from their constituents always takes priority.

2. Make it clear to your Senators that you DO NOT want them to pass the PACT Act of 2009 (S.1147). Let your Senators know that if they don't support you - you won't support them.


State Senator Phone Website
Alaska Lisa Murkowski 202-224-6665
Alaska Mark Begich 202-224-3004
Alabama Richard Shelby 202-224-5744
Alabama Jeff Sessions 202-224-4124
Arkansas Blanche Lincoln 202-224-4843
Arkansas Mark Pryor 202-224-2353
Arizona John McCain 202-224-2235
Arizona Jon Kyl 202-224-4521
California Dianne Feinstein 202-224-3841
California Barbara Boxer 202-224-3553
Colorado Mark Udall 202-224-5941
Colorado Michael Bennet 202-224-5852
Connecticut Christopher Dodd 202-224-2823
Connecticut Joseph Lieberman 202-224-4041
Delaware Thomas Carper 202-224-2441
Delaware Ted Kaufman 202-224-5042
Florida Bill Nelson 202-224-5274
Florida Mel Martinez 202-224-3041
Georgia Saxby Chambliss 202-224-3521
Georgia Johnny Isakson 202-224-3643
Hawaii Daniel Inouye 202-224-3934
Hawaii Daniel Akaka 202-224-6361
Iowa Charles Grassley 202-224-3744
Iowa Tom Harkin 202-224-3254
Idaho Mike Crapo 202-224-6142
Idaho Jim Risch 202-224-2752
Illinois Richard Durbin 202-224-2152
Illinois Roland Burris 202-224-2854
Indiana Richard Lugar 202-224-4814
Indiana Evan Bayh 202-224-5623
Kansas Sam Brownback 202-224-6521
Kansas Pat Roberts 202-224-4774
Kentucky Mitch McConnell 202-224-2541
Kentucky Jim Bunning 202-224-4343
Louisiana Mary Landrieu 202-224-5824
Louisiana David Vitter 202-224-4623
Massachusetts Edward Kennedy 202-224-4543
Massachusetts John Kerry 202-224-2742
Maryland Barbara Mikulski 202-224-4654
Maryland Benjamin Cardin 202-224-4524
Maine Olympia Snowe 202-224-5344
Maine Susan Collins 202-224-2523
Michigan Carl Levin 202-224-6221
Michigan Debbie Stabenow 202-224-4822
Minnesota Amy Klobuchar 202-224-3244
Missouri Kit Bond 202-224-5721
Missouri Claire McCaskill 202-224-6154
Mississippi Thad Cochran 202-224-5054
Mississippi Roger Wicker 202-224-6253
Montana Max Baucus 202-224-2651
Montana Jon Tester 202-224-2644
North Carolina Richard Burr 202-224-3154
North Carolina Kay Hagan 202-224-6342
North Dakota Kent Conrad 202-224-2043
North Dakota Byron Dorgan 202-224-2551
Nebraska Ben Nelson 202-224-6551
Nebraska Mike Johanns 202-224-4224
New Hampshire Judd Gregg 202-224-3324
New Hampshire Jeanne Shaheen 202-224-2841
New Jersey Frank Lautenberg 202-224-3224
New Jersey Robert Menendez 202-224-4744
New Mexico Jeff Bingaman 202-224-5521
New Mexico Tom Udall 202-224-6621
Nevada Harry Reid 202-224-3542
Nevada John Ensign 202-224-6244
New York Charles Schumer 202-224-6542
New York Kirsten Gillibrand 202-224-4451
Ohio George Voinovich 202-224-3353
Ohio Sherrod Brown 202-224-2315
Oklahoma James Inhofe 202-224-4721
Oklahoma Tom Coburn 202-224-5754
Oregon Ron Wyden 202-224-5244
Oregon Jeff Merkley 202-224-3753
Pennsylvania Arlen Specter 202-224-4254
Pennsylvania Robert Casey 202-224-6324
Rhode Island Jack Reed 202-224-4642
Rhode Island Sheldon Whitehouse 202-224-2921
South Carolina Lindsey Graham 202-224-5972
South Carolina James DeMint 202-224-6121
South Dakota Tim Johnson 202-224-5842
South Dakota John Thune 202-224-2321
Tennessee Lamar Alexander 202-224-4944
Tennessee Bob Corker 202-224-3344
Texas Kay Hutchison 202-224-5922
Texas John Cornyn 202-224-2934
Utah Orrin Hatch 202-224-5251
Utah Robert Bennett 202-224-5444
Virginia James Webb 202-224-4024
Virginia Mark Warner 202-224-2023
Vermont Patrick Leahy 202-224-4242
Vermont Bernie Sanders 202-224-5141
Washington Patty Murray 202-224-2621
Washington Maria Cantwell 202-224-3441
Wisconsin Herb Kohl 202-224-5653
Wisconsin Russell Feingold 202-224-5323
West Virginia Robert Byrd 202-224-3954
West Virginia John Rockefeller 202-224-6472
Wyoming Michael Enzi 202-224-3424
Wyoming John Barrasso 202-224-6441


TELEPHONE: You can directly dial your Senators' office using the number shown for them above, or you can dial 1-202-224-3121 (this is a toll call, there is no toll-free number to Congress) to be connected with a Capitol Switchboard Operator. Simply ask the Operator to connect you with your Senators' Office.
Time is crucial at this point, so a phone call is by far the best choice for contacting your Senators.

EMAIL: Simply go to each of your two Senators' websites shown above and find the Senators' contact form. Fill in the required information, type your message and click the "Send" button.

REGULAR MAIL: Send a letter to your Senator at their LOCAL offices nearest you. You can find the addresses for local offices on the Senators' websites or by looking in your telephone book's government section. It is important that you send your letter to your Senators' local office since mail often takes months to reach a Senators' Washington, DC office due to increased security at the Capitol.


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