Senator Smith Named New Chairman of Environment & Public Works Committee

Washington, DC … New Hampshire Senator Bob Smith (R) has been elected to replace the late Senator John Chafee (R-RI) as Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (E&PW). Senator Chafee passed away on October 24th leaving the chairmanship of the committee vacant. Senator Smith was elected unanimously by vote of the Republican Conference this afternoon. The Senator has worked closely with the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) in the past and has been very supportive of our issues. In 1997 and 1998, he was a strong advocate for the motorcyclists' position on the NHTSA lobbying issue. Most recently his help assured the inclusion of the Intelligent Transportation System language concerning motorcycles in the Transportation Equity Act for the Twenty-First Century (TEA-21). The E&PW committee is one of the primary committees dealing with transportation issues relevant to motorcycling.

The chairmanship was subject to speculation following the death of Senator Chafee due to Senator Smith leaving the Republican Party earlier this year to pursue his Presidential bid as an Independent candidate. Seniority rules the Senate. Senator Warner (R-VA) chose, as expected to remain chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, therefore was not considered. Had Senator Smith not been welcomed back to the party, Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) would have been next in line. Senator Smith returned to the Republican Party November 1st and retained his nine years seniority compared to Senator Inhofe's five years.

Steve Zimmer, Vice President of Government Relations for the MRF said, "Either one of these Senators would have been good news for motorcyclists around the country as both have been supportive of motorcycling issues. Having the Senator from the "Live Free or Die" state as the chairman of this influential committee will assure that motorcyclists will be heard." Zimmer went on to say, "Senator Smith has been a good friend to motorcycling and we are pleased to see him get this vote of confidence from the Republican Party."

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