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Old 08-23-2007, 12:27 AM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Tampa, FL
Posts: 371
Default Oberstar contacts

Rep. James Oberstar is running for re-election in 2008. You might want to send letters to his campaign manager and political director asking them to intervene with him about the waiver. Here are the addresses:

Blake Chaffee
Campaign Manager
Duluth Office
222 West First Street
Duluth, MN 55802
(218) 310-4376

Alana Petersen
Political Director
Pine City Office
Pine City, MN
(218) 213-4129

I sent the following letter to each of them:

Dear Mr. Chaffee:

As you must know, Congress currently has an 18% approval rating. That's an all time low.
So, it seems to me that doing something positive that costs nothing from the U S treasury and has a lot of popular appeal would be a big feather in the cap of any politician and particularly Mr. Oberstar.
I'm hoping that you will agree and speak to him about this. He can be a real hero by doing this.

I'm referring to his opposition to a waiver for the steamboat Delta Queen from the Safety at Sea Act.
He has said that he's concerned with the boat's safety because it has a wooden superstructure and could burn.

Over the boat's 81 year history, it has had all the safety improvements required and even more not required. It is painted with NASA developed fire retardant paint. It has a sprinkler system throughout.
It has watchmen on duty 24 hours that check in a stations all over the boat. It's crew undergoes frequent safety training sessions and all passengers have a safety session at the beginning of each cruise.
The boat has a double steel hull, one surrounding the other.

The Act was written to cover ships at sea. The Delta Queen does not go to sea. It runs on the Mississippi and Ohio River systems and is never more than 5 minutes from shore. If it did sink, it would still have 2-3 decks above water in most places on the river.

Passengers feel safer on this boat than in their cars, airplanes, and even in their own homes.

The boat is a regular visitor to Minnesota and has brought thousands of passengers to the state over the years. Those people shop in stores, visit malls, eat in restaurants, and stay in hotels in Minnesota.

It is a National Historic Landmark and is on the National Register of Historic Places. It has carried three U S Presidents, several First Ladies, Supreme Court Justices, many celebrities and thousands of ordinary citizens safely for over 8 decades. It served in the U S Navy in WWII. It is an American treasure.

The real issue here is labor, not safety. The Seafarer's International Union has lobbied Mr. Oberstar and Senator Inouye to oppose the waiver. They did this because the boat's current owner, Majestic America Line, dropped SIU crews when they bought the boat. But if the boat is retired as it will be without the waiver, there will be no chance for them to crew the boat again in the future. That is short sighted. In the past, while SIU crews worked the boat, they always supported the waivers. Their current lobby against the boat is nothing more than vindictive.

By reversing his opposition and supporting the waiver he can become a hero to the thousands who love the Delta Queen. It won't cost a nickel and has received such waivers since 1970, when Congress granted the first one. Does he really want to be known as the Grinch who Sunk the Delta Queen?

Please ask him to reconsider this now before it's too late. It would make a great campaign issue to say he saved the Delta Queen.

Thanks for your consideration.

Jim Herron
A Delta Queen passenger and not an employee of the boat or it's owner.
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