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Written by Gary J. Arzt

Friday, 05 December 2008

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tobacco legislation

Cigar Rights of America, the consumer driven organization created to fight for the rights of cigar smokers, has named Glynn Loope as its Executive Director.


J. Glynn Loope with Rocky Patel

Having previously named a Membership Director, Brian Berman, upgraded their web site and completed the first leg of the Freedom Tour (From NYC to Minneapolis to Milwaukee, Chicago and ending in Orlando), the organization - the best chance we, as smokers, have to fight back in an organized fashion - is ready to roll!

Last week I met with Litto Gomez, of La Flor Dominicana, in his office and he happened to mention the forthcoming appointment. Gomez has been very involved in all aspects of the founding of the organization, and was one of the members that vetted several prospective Executive Directors, before zeroing in on Loope.

Loope is the head of Commonwealth Advance LLC, based in Covington, VA, a government relations/economic development consultants that has had serious experience dealing with the same prohibitive measures that CRA seeks to address. Most recently, he represented the Cigar Association of Virginia since 2006 when he was involved in seeking to mitigate another set of proposed draconian measures that would have adversely affected cigar smokers and tobacconists in that state.

His involvement with the tobacconists came as a result of his frequenting a tobacconist in Roanoke, VA - Milan’, which is approaching 100 years old - that is adjacent to an excellent steakhouse, Frankie Rowland's. They asked Loope to help fight the first anti-smoking legislation introduced in the Virginia General Assembly.

Out of that effort he developed his own passions, not the least of which is clear when he states, "The nanny government has gotten out of control. We don’t need the government to tell us how to lead our lives."

Glynn Loope feels that " ... in the political arena the smoking bans are a diversionary tactic, designed to obscure the fact that politicians do nothing about the serious issues of education, security, etc."

We spoke today, when the CRA Board voted to confirm his appointment, to get his vision for CRA and he quickly laid out several points that were to be addressed forthwith:

• Setting up an office in Washington, DC or Northern Virginia
• Meeting with Legal Counsel
• Meeting with Brian Berman, the Membership Director, with regard to rapidly increasing membership
• Fund Raising: Glynn says CRA need "seven figures" to be able to do the job required
• Working out a political strategy, which includes partnering with other trade associations and groups that have extensive experience in dealing with legislatures at every level to protect their industry's well being.

In a brief forty-five minute conversation, Loope easily conveyed his enthusiasm; his mastery of the subject; and his dedication to getting the job done.

Kudos to the CRA Board for their selection of Glynn Loope.

In the October issue of Smoke Shop magazine, Loope wrote an article discussing the prospects of tobacco in the forthcoming election. His commentary was very salient and realistic in his discussion of the SCHIPS and FDA issues you can see it here.
 

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