In a close race watched closely by cycling advocates around the United States, cyclist Mike McGinn announced his victory tonight in the Seattle mayoral election after his opponent Joe Mallahan conceded.
McGinn, who campaigned on his bicycle and strongly supports cycling and public transportation, was the dark horse candidate who was outspent three to one. Seattle bike blogger Paul Andrews writes of McGinn and his campaign:
It was a startlingly unconventional way to build a base, campaigning in a bike helmet and blazer. But McGinn knew something that cyclists have long suspected: We’re a strong and growing political constituency, just waiting to be galvanized by a candidate who rides.
When we find out someone else is a cyclist, their stock goes way up. We have an instant bond. We are brothers and sisters in the daily combat of urban traffic. We know there’s a high chance our values will align, if not mirror, our compatriot’s.
The race was very close, and it’s amazing to see a guy who was mostly known for his biking to win this. Seattle cyclists are pretty excited and I think we can expect to see some good things there in the coming years.
* Seattle Transit Blog: McGinn cements lead over Mallan.
* Bike Intelligencer: Riding to win.
* Bike Intelligencer: Vote for a … cyclist?
* Bike Intelligencer: McGinn woudn’t ride like Nickels drives.
* Bike Hugger is in Seattle, so I expect at least a mention of this from them.
* How an underdog named Mike McGinn took City Hall.
Obama on LaHood: “He’s created opportunities for bikers and runners to enjoy our great outdoors.”
President Elect Barack Obama announced his picks for Trade, Labor, Transportation and Small Business posts for his administration at a press conference this afternoon.
Of primary interest to readers of this site is the selection of Congressman Ray LaHood from Peoria, Illinois as his Secretary of Transportation. Obama highlighted LaHood’s six years on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and his efforts to modernize and upgrade the commercial aviation system. He also noted LaHood’s efforts to improve mass transit and “beautify” the public landscape so “bikers and runners to enjoy our great outdoors.”
At the press conference, LaHood focused on his work improving the highway infrastructure in Illinois and his plans for the rest of the nation. “We cannot stand by our infrastructure ages and crumbles,” said LaHood. “We must pursue solid policies that allow our states and communities to address their transportation needs. We have a tremendous opportunity before us to rebuild our infrastructure and reinvigorate our economy, and I look forward to the challenge.”
As he listed the areas of public infrastructure that need attention, LaHood noted public transportation before mentioning the highways. “As a nation, we need to continue to be the world leader in infrastructure development, Amtrak, mass transit, light rail, air travel, and our roads and bridges all play a vital role in our economy and our well-being as a nation.”
Obama made it very clear that LaHood and the Department of Transportation would be play a key role in any kind of economic recovery plan for the nation. An economic stimulus package “is going to cost a significant amount of money on the front end,” said Obama. “What we want to do is make sure that in spending that money to help jump-start the economy and put 2.5 million people back to work, that we are also looking at the long term. And that’s where Ray LaHood , myself, and others on the economic team are going to be changing how business is done in Washington.”
Obama also praised today’s $17.4 Billion bailout of the auto industry by the Bush Administration.
Presidential candidates from the Republican and Democratic parties have been invited to a Presidential Candidates’ Forum on Transportation and Infrastructure. This forum, scheduled for Thursday, January 31 2008 at the Kimmel Center in New York City, is hosted by the NYU Wagner Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management. Sponsors include the League of American Bicyclists and Transportation Alternatives. Confirmation has been received that Senator Gravel will attend, as well as representatives from the campaigns of Sen. Barack Obama, Sen. Hillary Clinton, and Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Conference organizers are still working to obtain confirmation from the campaigns of Governors Huckabee and Romney, Representatives Hunter and Paul, and Senator Fred Thompson.
For more information and to RSVP, visit the NYU Wagner Rudin website. League of American Bicyclists members may also submit question ideas to the League; please feel free to post your questions here and I’ll forward them on if you don’t have the LAB email address.