I’ve just finished my first week at the League and already I’m immersed in planning for the National Bike Summit — which is great, because getting more involved with the Summit is one of main reasons I wanted to come work at the League.
Every new President talks about his or her goals for the first 100 days. For a President, the first 100 days are the time to capitalize on the momentum from the election. The same is true for Congress, the first 100 days is when the dynamics and the tone are set for the next two years.
That’s why the Summit, and your participation in it, is so important. It’s our opportunity to make a first impression on the new Congress and to ensure that new and returning members alike understand the importance and popularity that bicycling plays in the transportation, economy, and health of their communities.
It’s especially important this year. When the new transportation law, MAP-21, passed last year, bicycling and walking funding took a hit. Those who believe that bicycling is not transportation, or that bike facilities are a luxury we can’t afford in this fiscal climate, believe they’ve won that argument. It was hard to not feel exhausted and disappointed last summer — and that’s the last impression many in Washington have of the progressive transportation movement.
But because of the efforts of our champions on Capitol Hill, and the consistent and persistent drumbeat from advocates around the country, the Cardin-Cochran provision gave us a foundation from which to build. And advocates from around the country are taking advantage of the opportunities in MAP-21 to maintain and enhance the ever-increasing popularity of, and investment in, biking in cities and towns across the country.
The Summit is our chance to tell THAT story and insist that Congress be more aware and responsive to the changes happening in cities and towns around the country. A strong showing at the Summit will change the tone for biking in the transportation debate and set us on the right course for the next two years. This may not be the year a bill is written, but it’s the year that the themes of the debate will be set. The Summit is our opportunity to weigh in during these first 100 days and show that biking is back and we mean business.
Caron WhitakerPrior to joining the League of American Bicyclists in 2012, Ms. Whitaker served as the Campaign Director for America Bikes where she coordinated and implemented America Bikes federal policy agenda. Before that, she worked for the National Wildlife Federation on smart growth, international policy, and community engagement. In addition, Caron served as a Community Land Use Planner for the State of North Carolina Division of Coastal Management, providing technical assistance to local governments and staffing a stakeholders’ council responsible for revising state planning regulations. She has a Masters in Environmental Management for Duke University, Nicolas School of the Environment and a Bachelors of Arts from Williams College.
Vice President of Government Relations