I am a resident of NJ and called Senator Lautenburg's office today at about
5:30. The person asking the phone was a young man named Joseph. I asked to
speak with a senior staff member. When Joseph asked, I told him the subject
was about Rocketry. He said the staff member handling that issue was
unavailable because he was in with the Senator at the moment. Joseph said
he could help me.
I went on to say that I was greatly upset at the Senator's statement and
felt in was factually untrue. I said I was more interested in understanding
the rationale behind the decision and the process that led up to it. Joseph
said they felt terrorist could acquire rocket motors and do "bad things"
(actual words). Joseph couldn't say what "bad things" but was certain
terrorist would do them.
I then asked more about the process that led to their decision: what facts
where used, where they got information from, who they talked to, etc.
Joseph couldn't say. I felt I was entitled to this information. Joseph
said we could have a staff member return my call. Unfortunately I had
family obligation and would be available only until 6:15. Still I left my
Joseph, not the senior staff member, called back in about 15 minutes.
Joseph said they got their information from the AFT and DOJ. Apparently
there was little consideration from letters sent by constituents. I then
asked if they were in DC to represent the AFT. Joseph said no, they were
there to represent the State of New Jersey. I correct Joseph telling him
they are there to represent the PEOPLE of the State of New Jersey!
As our conversation went on it was pretty clear Joseph was clueless.
I asked what happens next, after we say goodbye. Joseph said he would pay
the information to the senior staffer; his name is Mike Hughes. Hughes
would then decide whether or not to pads it to the senator. I questioned
whether this isn't a conflict of interest, Hughes would be reluctant to
admit he screwed up. I asked to whom Hughes reports; who's his boss. He
reports to the Senator himself or his Chief of Staff. I left my contact
information (phone and Email) and the URL's to TRA and NAR websites.
I plan to call back and asked to speak to Mike Hughes, then eventually to
I strongly encourage my fellow NJ rocketeers to CALL Lautenburg; don't write
or FAX. The number is (202) 224-3224. Ask to specifically for Hughes or
higher level official. Pound them on their decision making process and
their reliance on a single point-of-view. Be polite, but be forceful.
Don't be ignored.
NY rocketeers should do similar.
- posted 18 years ago