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.
Please sign our petition and say NO to the FACT Act. 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.