Tired of politics? Contribute to progress

If you’re a Bike Fed member you should have recently received a mailing from us including an, “I Bike. I Vote,” bumper sticker. We also included some whimsical cut out campaign buttons with slogans like, “I like bike,” and, “Bikes — in your heart you know they’re right.”

For the non-political or the rather young, “I like bike” is a homage to “I like Ike,” the slogan for President Dwight D. Eisenhower. And “bikes – in your heart you know they’re right ,” is a variation on the slogan for Barry Goldwater in 1964.

We thought we’d have some fun with the election because the election is what’s on everybody’s mind right now and, let’s face it, this campaign season is badly in need of some fun. Whimsy has, to say the least, been in short supply.

But we also want you to think about cycling when you vote because your favorite form of transportation or exercise is impacted by who gets elected. This isn’t as true in the race for president or even Congress, but too often we lose sight of the fact that all 99 state Assembly and 16 state Senate seats are up for grabs in Wisconsin.

And the legislature matters a great deal. The new legislature takes its seats in January and they’ll get right to work on a new two-year transportation budget. Three years ago I served on a study committee with the exciting title of the Wisconsin Transportation Finance and Policy Commission. We made dozens of recommendations but among these is a call for $10 million each year for bicycle infrastructure.

So, we’ll be at the legislature reminding our elected officials of that bi-partisan report and it’s recommendations. We’ll also be in there fighting for more support for the repair of local roads where most of us bike, more paved shoulders on rural sections, more bike paths and trails. And we’ll work on restoring Wisconsin’s complete streets law, passing a vulnerable users law and a lot more.

Our nonprofit status prevents us from endorsing candidates, but we can research public policy, inform and motivate our members, and lobby legislators on our issues. And we’re already laying the groundwork for the next legislative session, doing our research, getting bills drafted and meeting with legislators and their staffs.

The ask in that mailing is that you help us represent you in Madison by making a special contribution to the Bike Fed beyond your membership renewal. You can do that by sending your check to The Bike Fed, 3618 W. Pierce Street, Milwaukee, WI 53215. And – good news! — because our legislative work only represents a small part of our budget, your contribution is still legally tax deductible.

So, if this election season has made you a little sour on politics, cheer up. It’ll soon be over and then we’ll get down to the business of actually passing budgets and laws. And in that process the Bike Fed will bring the best information and research and passion to our arguments on behalf of the cycling community.

Your contribution will help us make your voice heard.

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About Dave Cieslewicz, Director Emeritus

Dave Cieslewicz served two terms as mayor of Madison where he set the city on a path for Platinum status as one of the best biking cities in North America. Before that he started his own nonprofit, 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, which focuses on land use and transportation policy. He has been an adjunct professor at the UW Madison's Department of Urban and Regional Planning where he teaches a class called Bikes, Pedestrians and Cities. He pronounces his name chess LEV ich, but nobody else does.

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