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Mr . Chairman

My name is Earl Blumenauer

and I right here live here

in Portland, Oregon,

where I believe that just lately,

because of my longstanding promotion... of the Bicycle

as a Better Way......to Travel around Town

here in Portland,

that I have become known

as Bicycle Blumenauer.

Well, it's true

that I am a kind of an unapologetic

Bicycle Evangelist,

and indeed I am here today

to try to persuade YOU

to get out your automobile

and onto your bicycle,

for your own Benefit,

as well as for the Benefit of your Community,

and indeed your Country.

Now as most of you here today know

I represent most of Portland

as a Democrat in the United States Congress.

I am 60 yrs old,

and I was born and raised in this City,

and I have spent my entire adult life

as a politician, in elected office

representing the good people of this area.

Initially I held various local and State

political positions starting in 1972

as your Member

in the Oregon State House of Representatives

I was there for more than 20 years

through until 1996 ,

when I am proud to say

that I went on to win election

to the United States.... House of Representatives

as your man in Washington, D. C ,

I have been reelected there

five times, every two years,

in each election ...since 1996,

and I am pleased to announce

that I will be running again in the next election,

when I will be asking again

for your kind support.

Now I have been engaged in many political issues

over the course of my career,

but as your federal representative

there is a particular mission

that is close to my heart

that I have been pursuing for a number of years,

and that is my mission

to promote the use of the Bicycle

as a preferred way of getting around town,

whether here in Portland,

or in any other city or town.

And today I want to tell you

that my work on this

is starting to get results.

Now ironically I say this

because of a certain kind of chaos

that I have been seeing lately

around town here in Portland..

and I want to hasten to assure you

that this is what I regard as

a good variety of chaos.

It is a kind of bicycle chaos.

What I am referring to here

is the obvious increase, which anybody can see,

in the use of bicycles by city residents

as a preferred mode of personal transportation

around our beautiful City of Portland.

People are flying through stop signs on their bicycles....Chaos.

There is bicycle congestion in the city streets.....Chaos.

People biking across the river on pedestrian bridges....Chaos.

This city seems to be teeming with.... bicycles.

I love this kind of bicycle chaos

because I am a passionate advocate of cycling

as a remedy for everything

from ..... to personal health problems.

Now I am again proud to say

that in the Congress of the United States,

I am the founder, and the current co-leader,

of something (that you may have heard about) called

the CBC.....the Congressional Bicycle Caucus.

Now there at 535 members of Congress,

in the Senate, and the House,

and of these, believe it or not,

182 are official members

of the Congressional Bicycle Caucus.

1/3 of the total.

If you want to know exactly who they are,

here is the list.

182 members/ from 43 States and D. C.

including....127 Democrats, and 55 Republicans.

The Co-Chair of the CBC

is my friend, Congressman Thomas Petri,

who is a Republican

representing East Wisconsin.

Now in some quarters

this Caucus has been regarded as

shall I say.... a little flaky.

We have been flogging this bicycle thing

for 20 years now,

but just recently this Bicycle Caucus

has started to make progress.... started to come into its own

and I note that this progress has coincided with

the arrival of...hard economic times,

and....climate concerns,

and....gyrating gas prices,

and ...increased interest in physical fitness.

So all of a sudden, in 2009, the CBC is hot...

and apparently..... a little less flaky.

People have been turning away from ....their Automobiles,

and instead, climbing aboard ....their bicycles.

However my goal is greater

than simply putting Americans on two wheels.

To use the modern jargon,

I want to help to promote... a society,

(warning! I am about to use the dreaded 11 letter S word)

which is just a little more...... SUSTAINABLE.

And what does that dreaded word... actually mean?

Well, it's not complicated.

To give a few examples,

a "sustainable" society ...

subscribes to...........the wiser use of energy,

and supports..... farming ....that improves the land

rather than degrades it,

and promotes..... an end to unwise development ,

but A Sustainable Society....

also includes........Transportation

that looks beyond ......the good old.....automobile.

Over the past century,

we have become fixated on.......and mesmerized by....

the automobile

as the only way to get around.

My Vision ....is that of transportation

that look beyond the gasoline powered Vehicle...

to enVelope ..... other options,

of which the Bicycle.....is only one example.

Now of course

the global financial collapse

has obviously been a disaster... for everyone.

However, if there is any silver lining to this cloud,

our country's financial crisis

is perhaps the best opportunity

we will ever have

to build environmental sustainability

into the nation's infrastructure,

I will give.... just 4 examples,

urban streetcar systems,

bicycle and pedestrian paths,

more efficient energy transmission,

alternative fuels.

Now, three years ago ,

none of these kinds of sustainability projects,

were practical on a large scale.

But now

when we can no longer count entirely on

housing construction,

and automobile production

to sustain the economy,

these kind of sustainability projects

are much more appealing.

Again, such things as street cars...

bicycle paths,

more efficient energy transmission....

alternative fuels...

these things are more affordable,

and they get us where we need to go

in this new century,

if our country, and our planet,

is to have long term success.

A great supporter of these kinds of projects

is one of my fellow biking enthusiasts,

Representative .

Jim is a Minnesota Democrat,

he is an avid cyclist ...

and... he has Power, because

he is Chairman of the House Committee

on Transportation and Infrastructure in the U.S Congress.

That committee has jurisdiction

over all surface transportation

in our country.

My colleague Jim

has been very strong

in supporting some of these sustainability goals

that I have mentioned.

And, as support for the specific activity of

bicycling ......grows,


and the highway construction lobby

and others

have stopped regarding bicycles

as simply a "nuisance"

and started to think about

how they can do business

along these lines,

which in turn

makes Jim Oberstar's job a lot easier

as Chair of that Transportation committee.

So with an eye on a potential stimulus package,

Mr. Oberstar has led our CBC

to compile a list of $2 billion of projects

that can be under construction in 90 days.

An example of an initiative along these lines

which is already underway

is that this fall, after many attempts,

we saw Congress approve

my proposal ...to extend the tax breaks

which are offered to employers...

who encourage their employees....

to bicycle to work.

I call this measure,

a matter of "bicycle parity."

It was part of a bailout bill.....

in other words, part of

an economic package for recovery which was considered by Congress

and which was supported by

the Congressional Bicycle Caucus.

Now as I said I entered Congress in 1996

At that time,

, (remember him?) ,the Newt,

was the Republican Speaker

of the House or Representatives

You may recall that the Government

actually shut down for a short period that year.

Partisan tensions were at an all-time high

and tolerance of another point of view

was at a all-time low.

But believe it or not,

our Bicycle Caucus proved to be a way

to bring people together.

At that time, I worked with my colleague,

Mr. ,

who is a Republican and a fellow bicyclist

who represented upstate New York

in Congress until 2007.

Sherwood and I... did a very simple thing

during the 1996 government shutdown...

we both wore the bicycle caucus'

plastic ..bicycle lapel pin... on our jackets.


It's not your average lapel pin...

it is quite large...

you can see it from quite a distance.

You would be amazed at the conversations

that this lapel pin....generated between members

on both sides of the House at that time..

Mr. Boehlert and I.....discovered that Bicycling...is Bipartisan,

which of course should have been no great surprise,

because, when you go down to the bicycle store,

they don't have

Republican bicycles....or Democrat bicycles..

or liberal bicycles....or conservative bicycles..

they just have .....bicycles.

So the activity of ....or the topic of ...

cycling .......brings people together,

regardless of party affiliation.

And that is exactly what happened, to a certain extent,

in 1996, and I think that it was quite helpful.

Now just so you do not think

that I am only.........a one act play,

as I said earlier, my promotion of Cycling

is just one of a number of issues

in which I have been politically active

in Washington.

For example,

I have promoted....public broadcasting

as well as...a federally subsidized flood insurance program,

and at one point, believe it or not, I even waded

into the painful politics

of the plight of pollinators , like honeybees!

(I can tell you that I almost got stung on that one!)

Aso, I am a founder of something called

the "livable communities task force"

and the goat of that group

is to educate members of Congress.... and their staffs

on the benefits of..... transportation alternatives,

........open space,

........vibrant downtowns,

........affordable housing,

and ......transparency in government.

....the Livable Communities....Task force.

Now when I first came to Washington

these sorts of interests marked me

as kind of "left coast", as they say,

never mind West coast.

You know, when I rode into the Capitol

on my bicyclein 1996

I might as well have been from another planet.

But lately, I have found that these matters

are becoming more mainstream.

For example, Adam B. Schiff,

is a Democrat

who represents Pasadena, Calif. in Congress.

Adam keeps a home in Maryland,

which is right next door to Washington D. C,

and Adam often rides his bike to work in the Capitol

from his home in Maryland.

Adam Schiff..... has been a great supporter

of these Sustainability goals

in our Bicycle Caucus,

and its very encouraging that along with Adam...

fully 1/3 of Congress....belong to the CBC....

and support these same goals.

When I am at home in my Portland district,

or when I am in Washington

I usually get around by bicycle.

I cycle in all weather,

even in the snow Portland has had recently.

Its interesting that in falling snow

you actually can get more traction,

and it is gratifying that our Congressional Bicycle Caucus

has lately been getting

more political traction in Washington.

But the surge of cycling in Portland

has not been without incident.

For example, The Oregonian newspaper,

as well as Internet bloggers

have reported on a new variety of road rage

called "bicycle rage,"

and there have been instances of ...drunken cyclists....

and.....hit-and-run bicycle accidents

and other problems....

And of course clearly that kind of bicycle chaos

needs to be dealt with.

Drivers sometimes complain about cyclists.

But you know,

bicyclists are burning calories, not fossil fuel.

and.....they are taking up a lot less space on the streets,

and..... they are seeing the world at 10 mph,

not 30, or 60

Cyclists have fought for , and deserve,

their place on the asphalt.

So , Fellow TM and Honoured Guests,

I hope..... that tonight .........I have given you a taste

of my Passion....for the Bicycle .....

as a Vehicle ......for some Measure of ....Salvation ..

here in America.

When you get home tonight,

get on that Bicycle,

and see what you can do!

Mr. Chairman