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Commentary: Look at All the People Here!

19 Oct 2011

If anyone doubts that cigars can bring a diverse group of people together, just take a glance at the list of cosponsors for legislation to bar the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from regulating handmade premium cigars.

At a time when it seems Congress might have trouble agreeing that the sun will come up tomorrow, the list of about 90 proponents presents a bipartisan bonanza. Sure, most of them are Republicans, as you’d expect for a proposal to reduce regulation. But look further.

There’s Charlie Rangel, the New York Democrat excoriated by many smokers when he headed the Ways and Means Committee during SCHIP consideration. And Jesse Jackson Jr., the Chicago-area Democrat with a perfect 100 rating from the liberal Americans for Democratic Action, is on the list with the GOP’s Duncan Hunter, a Californian who got a 0 from the same group. Similarly, try to think of another bill that would have the support of both Brooklyn Democrat Ed Towns, cosponsor of an impeachment measure for President George W. Bush, and Republican Joe Wilson of South Carolina, the man who yelled “You lie!” at President Barack Obama during a joint congressional address.

My purpose here, though, is more important than simply pointing out an interesting situation. This is valuable, useful information.

If your representative or senators haven’t signed on, you need to let them know you want them to do so. And you should draw attention to the bipartisan nature of support for HR1639, known formally as the “Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Jobs Preservation Act of 2011.”

It’s a rare politician who can resist the siren song of bipartisanship. Knowledge also demonstrates that you are an engaged citizen, and politicians know that not only do engaged citizens vote, they exert a lot of influence on others who vote.

At StogieGuys.com, we’ve devoted a lot of time and writing to this issue. You can go through the archives to find everything from analysis of the bill to tips for how to most effectively contact your legislators.

We’re staying on this because we believe it is vitally important. Not only is eliminating FDA regulation critical, the recognition of handmade premium cigars would make it easy and likely that they will be exempted from future tobacco regulations. All it will take is a line that says “except for cigars as defined in the Traditional Cigar Manufacturing …”

George E

photo credit: UPI.com

Drew Estate

One Response to “Commentary: Look at All the People Here!”

  1. Patrick Ashby Wednesday, October 19, 2011 at 8:55 am #

    For reasons we have pointed out ad nauseum at StogieGuys.com, these bills are critical to the cigar industry. FDA oversight of premium cigars will almost certainly lead to decreased industry innovation, stifling of free speech, great hardships for the smallest cigar makers, and countless other injustices. Please contact your legislators and urge them to support this effort.