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Congressional bike advocate Blumenauer won't seek re-election next year

Published October 31, 2023

PORTLAND, Ore. (BRAIN) — Rep. Earl Blumenauer, who has championed bicycle and climate legislation during his long career in Washington, announced he will not seek re-election in 2024.

Blumenauer, 75, served as Oregon's 3rd Congressional District for 27 years.

"I am proud of a lifetime of leadership in rebuilding and renewing America and giving citizens more choices about how they live, move, and work," Blumenauer, a Democrat, said in a statement. "This is the serious work of government: to make our communities more livable, people safer, healthier, and more economically secure. We have proven that it works. There is more to be done, and I look forward to being a part of it without the burden of day-to-day politics."

Two weeks ago, Blumenauer attended PeopleForBikes' SHIFT'23 conference in Bentonville, Arkansas, where he revealed he's shopping for his first e-bike and was impressed with the work Bentonville has done to embrace bikes as transportation.

The co-chair of the Congressional Bike Caucus, Blumenauer has been active in sponsoring bike legislation, including the Import Security Act (addressing de minimis reform), the E-BIKE Act, (a federal tax credit for e-bike purchases), the Bicycle Commuter Act (a tax incentive to bike commute to work), and the Sarah Langenkamp Transportation Act (unlocking local government roadway safety funds in honor of a State Department employee killed while riding her bike).

Established in 1996, the caucus has successfully secured a $2.45 billion increase in federal funding for biking and walking and created a tax benefit for commuters biking to work. Blumenauer has a reputation for establishing bipartisan support for legislation. Other accomplishments are:

  • Leading the Ways and Means Committee to craft provisions included in the Inflation Reduction Act.
  • Securing more than $1.5 trillion in the bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the largest investment in rebuilding and renewing America in history. This included funding for active transportation: a 70% increase in bike and pedestrian funding, and the creation of a $1 billion Safe Streets and Roads for All program.
  • Saving more than 100,000 restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic by creating the $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund.
  • Expanding healthcare coverage for millions of Americans through the Affordable Care Act, including a new Medicare benefit for end-of-life care planning.
  • With late Sens. John McCain and Ted Kennedy, he passed legislation to create a pathway to legal permanent status for Iraqi and Afghan nationals who directly supported the U.S. military missions in their countries.
  • As a local elected official and member of Congress, Blumenauer was responsible for the development of Portland's transit system, including the light rail and streetcar system. This includes building out Portland's bike network, making Portland internationally recognized as one of the nation's most livable cities.
Topics associated with this article: Electric bike

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