Soldotna residents urged to write reps

Posted: Monday, March 15, 2004

Writing to elected officials is what people can do to maintain the greatness of the United States, a Kenai area representative for National Write Your Congressman Inc. told the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce last week.

Linda Faro quickly moved the 40 business leaders into action by getting them to fill out constituent opinion ballots on tort reform, a matter currently being considered by Congress.

The ballot asked whether noneconomic loss rewards should be capped, whether plaintiffs in liability cases should be required to prove who is responsible, whether the burden of proof standard in punitive damage cases should be moved from a "preponderance of evidence" to "clear and convincing evidence" a stricter standard and whether a loser-pays system should be enacted so the losing party in a lawsuit pays the victor's attorney fees and expenses.

Faro instructed members of the Soldotna audience to address their ballots to either Sen. Lisa Mur-kowski, Sen. Ted Stevens or Rep. Don Young and she said the ballots would be forwarded to those Alaska members of Congress.

Similar balloting on congressional issues is one of the activities conducted by National Write Your Congressman, according to Faro, who said individual memberships in the organization cost as little as $140 a year.

Benefits of joining the organization include unlimited access to the group's Web site, weekly reports on what Congress did in the preceding week and what it expects to address in the coming week, monthly facsimile reports on changes in the U.S. tax code, legislative updates every other month as well as monthly constituent opinion ballots like the ones the chamber members completed.

"Congressmen respect what we do," Faro said.

"They know that when they get something from one of our members, the members have seen both sides of the issue," she said.

National Write Your Congress-man is not a lobbying group, does not take a stand on issues and does not support candidates.

During a videotape Faro played, the group's founder, David Adamson, said, "A better informed voter means a stronger America.

"If we don't express our views to our senators and congressmen, many of them think we don't have an opinion.

"If we don't speak up, they can't hear us," Adamson said.

Faro said memberships are available at various participation levels ranging in cost from $140 to $225. Couples can purchase double memberships for $365 per year, she said.

Corporate memberships also are available.

"There are a lot of issues before Congress," Faro said. "They affect us all.

"We ask you to join hands with us and make a difference," she said.

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