In relation to my last ‘guest blog’ I was contacted by Susan Vento, the widow of Bruce Vento, Asbestos & Mesothelioma Victim and Former U.S. House Representative, St. Paul, Minnesota.
She asked if I could spread the word regarding the work of the ACVRC (the Asbestos Cancer Victims’ Rights Campaign) and also asks if you would kindly sign the petition on their website: http://cancervictimsrights.org
Please also take a look at the short videos highlighting this devastating illness.
Join us in fighting all legislation that restricts the rights of asbestos cancer victims.
An outline of the campaign: ‘to expose the truth about asbestos and to oppose legislation to roll back asbestos victims’ rights. Several years ago, asbestos trust funds were established by the bankruptcy courts to provide compensation to asbestos victims for asbestos-related illness and death, and at the same time, enable companies to continue their business operations.
Recently, we have seen campaigns sponsored by the U.S. Chamber in various states and in Congress that will make it more difficult for asbestos victims and their families to get compensation. New, extensive disclosures of victims’ personal information would be required, resulting in justice delayed or denied, while companies would have no similar requirements. We can’t allow that to happen. Our goal is to inform policymakers and the public that companies were aware of asbestos dangers even as they harmed millions of workers and consumers across the country.
The campaign will show why the FACT Act is the opposite of what it is called, why victims’ rights must be protected, and why this effort to roll back victims’ rights must be defeated. If the Congress is going to act, it should be considering how to stop the use of asbestos and conduct more research for effective medical treatments, not how to eliminate the rights of victims’.
SUSAN VENTO’S Story & Opposition to the FACT Act
Dear Chairman Bachus and Ranking Member Cohen:
My name is Susan Vento, and I’m writing to express my strong opposition to H.R. 982 called the Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act (FACT Act). My husband was the late Congressman Bruce F. Vento who served for more than 24 years in the House of Representatives representing Minnesota’s Fourth Congressional District. He died from mesothelioma in 2000 within eight months of being diagnosed.
Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer caused by asbestos exposure. Bruce was exposed through his work as a laborer years before we met or became involved in public life. He told his constituency about his diagnosis in early February 2000 when he announced why he would not run for re-election. On February 14, he had his lung surgically removed and then began an aggressive regimen of chemotherapy and radiation at the Mayo Clinic.
It was not enough. My husband died three days after his 60th birthday in October. With his death, our country lost a dedicated and humble public servant years before his time. I lost so much more.
Bruce dedicated himself as a tireless and effective advocate for the environment, for working people and for the disadvantaged. During his time in Congress, he was well respected by members of all parties. He served as chairman of the Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands and also served on the House Banking Committee.
The FACT Act directly contracts the decades of work my husband invested in helping those who could not help themselves. If this bill passed, it would be a serious step back for the important work he achieved as your colleague. As the FACT Act is currently written, it is one-sided, unfair and unnecessary. It touts “transparency” yet will delay and in some cases deny justice to people suffering from debilitating asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma.
I thank you for your consideration and hope you will stand with me in support of Bruce’s memory and in opposition of this bill.