Washington, D.C. - The MRF RIDERS' MAJORITY, elected in great numbers in Election 2000, were sworn in as Members of the 107th Congress earlier this week and elected yesterday to key leadership positions in the new Congress.
Even if motorcycling issues do not fall under the cognizance of certain committees, the emergence of pro-rider lawmakers as chairmen is a demonstration of their leadership skill, their influence over colleagues on all public policy issues and the importance of an informed, politically engaged motorcyclists' rights community.
(Note: An asterisk surrounding a name below denotes that MRF reserved for the lawmaker the special designation of MRF Champion of Motorcyclists' Rights & Safety.)
Among the key positions assumed by U.S. Senators who have gone the extra mile for motorcyclists nationwide are Senate Majority Leader (Trent Lott of Mississippi) and Chairmen of the following Senate Committees: Agriculture (*Richard Lugar* of Indiana); Environment (*Bob Smith* of New Hampshire); Governmental Affairs (*Fred Thompson* of Tennessee); Health, Education & Labor (James Jeffords of Vermont) and Indian Affairs (*Ben Nighthorse Campbell* of Colorado).
In the U.S. House of Representatives, MRF RIDERS' MAJORITY will lead 14 of the House's 19 committees and hold the position of Speaker of the House (Dennis Hastert), and chair the following committees: Appropriations (C.W. Bill Young of Florida); Armed Services (Bob Stump of Arizona); Budget (Jim Nussle of Iowa); Commerce (Bill Tauzin of Louisiana); Education & the Workforce (*John Boehner* of Ohio); Ethics (Joel Hefley of Colorado); Government Reform (Dan Burton of Indiana); International Relations (Henry Hyde of Illinois); Judiciary (*Jim Sensenbrenner* of Wisconsin); Rules (David Dreier of California); Select Intelligence (Porter Goss of Florida); Small Business (Don Manzullo of Illinois) and Ways & Means (Bill Thomas of California).
The powerful House Transportation Committee - crucial to advancing our agenda of safety and freedom on the road - will be headed by Don Young of Alaska, a long-standing MRF Champion of Motorcyclists' Rights & Safety.
The new Administration selected former Congressman Norman Mineta to head the Department of Transportation and former New Jersey Governor Christi Todd Whitman to head the Environmental Protection Agency. We believe Governor Whitman will be open to hearing our concerns about the efficacy and desirability of sweeping, new emission restrictions on street motorcycles and share our concerns about the impact of the new restrictions on small business, particularly small-volume bike makers and after-market producers. MRF has requested a meeting with Governor Whitman at her earliest convenience.
Mr. Mineta, on the other hand, has a mixed record on motorcycling issues. While in Congress, he voted in favor of mandatory helmet laws, but that position is balanced by two things. First, the President-elect opposes mandatory helmet laws and favors more power to the states to decide such issues for themselves - without extracurricular and extra-legal lobbying by NHTSA. Second, Mr. Mineta supports a range of other pro-motorcycling issues. An avid supporter of road access by motorcyclists, Mr. Mineta as a Congressman made a point of sharing his enthusiasm with MRF in person by applauding the appearance of the first road signs in Virginia that guaranteed motorcycle access to HOV or commuter lanes. He also believes that motorcycles are an antidote to traffic congestion and may be open to considering a tax deduction for businesses which provide motorcycle parking (to date, deductions are available only for car- and van-pool parking).
We also have reason to believe that Mr. Mineta may be inclined to support two key MRF legislative initiatives for 2001: first, the flagging of rider training and motorist awareness of motorcycles as a national highway safety priority; second, developing and executing a program of making crash barriers motorcycle-friendly. We have requested an audience with Mr. Mineta at the earliest possible date to discuss these and other issues.
During the critical, fast-moving transition phase in Washington, the Administration is making other, equally crucial appointments throughout all federal agencies. Meanwhile, transition team leaders are reviewing policies and setting goals for 2001 and beyond.
MRF is engaging with our friends in Congress and on the transition team so that both personnel appointments and public policies will advance motorcycling and protect our rights and safety.
You can be a part of this historic process. Send a simple, courteous yet effective message to the Transition Team. Call on the team to consider, for influential policy-making roles in the federal transportation arena, professionals with a keen insight into motorcycling and experience in state highway safety management - preferably those who are motorcyclists themselves.
You can do this by sending this one-page, one-sentence message:
"Because the President-elect promised to make government 'citizen-centered' and because motorcyclists should shape motorcycle policy, I call on the Transition Team to appoint motorcycle riders to senior posts in the Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration and NHTSA."
Sign, date and send this message -- along with your name and address, to the Transition Team. Due to the fast-paced nature of personnel appointments, you should fax your statement to 202- 513-7533 and mark it "ATTENTION: TRANSPORTATION LIAISON." You can also mail your statement to the team at 1800 G Street N.W., Washington, D.C. 20270 - but do so today!
For further information contact Tom Wyld at 202-546-0983 or by e-mail at email@example.com
The first motorcyclists' rights organization to establish a full-time legislative advocacy presence in Washington. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation is the only Washington voice devoted exclusively to the street rider. MRF established MRFPAC in the early 1990s to advocate the election of candidates who would champion the cause of rider safety and rider freedom. MRF proudly claims state motorcyclists' rights organizations and the very founders of the American rider rights movement among its leading members. Motorcyclists worldwide can thumb-start their search for rider rights and safety on the web at www.mrf.org.
© All information contained in this release is copyrighted. Reproduction permitted with attribution. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation, incorporated in 1987, is an independent, membership-based national motorcyclists' rights organization headquartered in Washington D.C. which operates in co-partnership with State Motorcyclists' Rights Organizations nationwide. The MRF is involved in federal and state legislation and regulation, motorcycling safety education, training, licensing and public awareness. The MRF provides individual and SMRO member-volunteers with guidance, support and information to protect motorcyclists' rights and advance motorcycling and its associated lifestyle. The MRF sponsors annual regional and national educational seminars for motorcyclists' rights activists and publishes a bi-monthly newsletter, THE MRF REPORTS.
Voice: 202-546-0983, Fax: 202-546-0986, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, website: http://www.mrf.org
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