By Kim Hart - 04/12/10 04:11 PM EDT
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) is calling for better cell phone service in rural parts of her state.
On Friday, Giffords wrote letters to Verizon Wireless, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint Nextel, asking for improved emergency coverage in rural Arizona. Ranchers living in that area say they'd feel safer with improved wireless services, according to a story by local TV station KGUN9-TV.
"It is evident that the lack of reliable electronic communications is a factor in the growing public safety problem faced by area residents," Giffords said in her letter. "In the interest of the security and safety of your customers, I am asking for your immediate assistance to fill this dangerous communications gap."
Not long ago, Giffords tried calling Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano but could not connect the call, Giffords' spokesman told the TV station.
The Washington Post revealed a 2008 request by Cindy McCain, wife of then-presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), for better cell phone coverage at the family's ranch in Sedona, Ariz. Wireless companies installed an extra mobile tower to improve service to the candidate.
In her letters, Giffords said "the border crisis in southern Arizona should justify the same response."