On March 17, 2010, Congressmen Chris Lee (Republican) and Brian Higgins (Democrat) voted in favor of a measure that will cost thousands of Western New Yorkers their jobs, that disgracefully interferes with the inherent rights of sovereign peoples and threatens the economic stability of one of our region’s largest employers, the Seneca Nation of Indians. An attack on the economy of the Seneca Nation and its People is an attack on the economy of all of Western New York.
Before the end of June, approximately 140 Seneca Indian owned businesses will be forced to close their doors resulting in the immediate loss of close to 3000 jobs in the Western New York area; most of these jobs are held by non-Indian residents of New York State. This figure does not include the job losses that will be experienced by non-Seneca businesses either directly or indirectly from the virtual collapse of the Seneca Nation’s private sector economy. The overall impact will be felt by Western New York’s accountants, marketing consultants, advertisers, postal delivery personnel, internet service providers, attorneys, restaurant owners, and the countless non-Seneca vendors that provide services to Seneca businesses.
Congressmen Lee and Higgins were advised of the dire economic consequences that a bill that makes tobacco nonmailable through the United States Postal Service would have on Western New York communities and jobs. Congressmen Lee and Higgins were advised that Seneca businesses had no delivery alternative to the United States Postal Service because New York State had previously strongarmed all private delivery carriers into discontinuing delivery of tobacco products for Seneca businesses. Please do not listen when Congressmen Lee and Higgins tell you that they were unaware of the consequences. Either they just didn’t listen or they just don’t care.
Congresswomen Stephanie Herseth Sandlin of South Dakota, among others, stood up in support of Indian Tribes and jobs in her state by voting NO against the bill supported by Congressmen Lee and Higgins. Congresswomen Herseth Sandlin had this to say in opposition to the bill – “I believe the bill threatens the government-to-government relationship with Native American tribes set out by our founders in the U.S. Constitution.”
In stark contrast, Congressmen Lee and Higgins said nothing.
Congressmen Lee and Higgins your silence was deafening. We are still listening; do you have anything to say to Western New York? No more excuses.
Friends of the Seneca People and nypoliticiansunveiled