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January 13, 2012 — On January 10, the Republican Senate Leader, Mitch McConnell, participated in a cigar industry roundtable at the J.C. Newman Factory in Tampa, FL.

“Our industry is under attack,” said J.C. Newman President, Eric Newman. “It is important to show politicians that we are not ‘Big Tobacco.’ We are an industry of hard-working family owned businesses.”

Over 50 leaders from around the industry were present to tell their stories and share their concerns for increased government regulation on the cigar industry.

Manufacturers present included, Eric Newman and Bobby Newman (J.C. Newman Cigar Co), Cynthia Fuente-Suarez (A. Fuente Cigars), John Oliva Sr. and John Oliva Jr. (Oliva Tobacco), Arthur Kemper (Perdomo Cigars), Ernesto Carillo (E.P. Carillo Cigar Co), Jorge Padron (Padron Cigars), Alan Rubin (Alec Bradley Cigar Co), Charlie Toraño  (Toraño Family Cigar Co), David Bullock (Rocky Patel), Cory Bappert (Oliva Cigar Family) , Alejandro Mantero (Graycliff Cigar Co), Hank Bischoff  and Rafael Nodal (Oliveros Cigars), Roberto Alonso and Yadi Vargas (Flor de Gonzalez Cigars), David Blanco (Blanco Cigars), Paul Palmer-Fernandez (Casa Fernandez Cigars) and Eddie Tarazona (Mederos Cigars).

Retailers present included, Edward’s Pipe & Tobacco, GarVino’s, Corona Cigar Co, Thompson Cigar Co, Gaspar’s Cigar Shoppe, Tampa Humidor, Tobacco Depot, Low Ball Louie, Cigar Castle, Smoker Friendly, The Cigar Cave and Tobacco Locker.

Other guests present included, Cigar Dave Zeplowitz, Bill Spann (CEO of I.P.C.P.R.), Florida State Attorney’s Office, Action Label, TECO, Chief Joe Sykes (Retired U.S. Navy) and Suport the Troops, Inc.

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Site sponsor Lynn Davies of Tobacco Locker is in the second row, first from the left. You can view more pictures here.

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Charlie Minato

I am an editor and co-founder of halfwheel.com/Rueda Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I have written about the cigar industry for more than a decade, covering everything from product launches to regulation to M&A. In addition, I handle a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff here at halfwheel. I enjoy playing tennis, watching boxing, falling asleep to the Le Mans 24, wearing sweatshirts year-round and eating gyros. echte liebe.