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Obama Event Scores Points for Industry

Published June 16, 2008

CHICAGO, IL (BRAIN)—Last Thursday’s fundraiser for Barack Obama, organized by SRAM’s F.K. Day and his wife, Leah, raised approximately $175,000 from the bicycle industry.

Besides those at the event, a number of people in the industry contributed money who were unable to attend.

Stan Day, SRAM’s president, said the money was well spent given the direct conversation that key members of the Bikes Belong board of directors had with the Illinois Senator and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.

“As expensive as this was, I think we scored good value,” said Day, noting that earlier in the evening Obama had been at a Democratic National Committee event that raised $2 million; attendees there paid $20,000 each. “We received the same air time and I think our cycling-centered event will be memorable in his mind,” Day added.

The cycling event asked for a $2,300 contribution per person.

Day pointed out that there had been some initial concerns regarding personal political view. After all, not all who attended or contributed are Obama supporters.

But Day said he told employees and others that this wasn’t about politics.

“It was about anchoring our National Bike Summit agenda in the minds of one of two viable presidential candidates and creating the possibility that cycling infrastructure become a topic for debate in the current election cycle,” Day said.

This event added an “exclamation point” on the industry’s 10-year effort to put cycling on the national agenda and to increase funding for cycling-related efforts through the federal transportation budget, he said.

During a private meeting with Bikes Belong board members, Obama told them he could support increased funding for bike paths, Safe Routes to School and other cycling-related issues in the 2009 transportation bill if elected.

“I am confident we did achieve a breakthrough here,” Day said. It’s now up to Bikes Belong, the League of American Wheelmen, IMB and the industry to follow up, he added.

For more on this story, read the July 1 issue of Bicycle Retailer & Industry News.

—Marc Sani

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