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Dear Mr. President: Please Continue LaHood’s Legacy

Caron Whitaker is Vice President of Government Relations at the League of American Bicyclists. This post was cross-posted from the League of American Bicyclists blog.

When Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced his retirement last month, we quickly went from gratitude for his work promoting biking and walking, to wondering who President Obama will tap as his replacement.

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Who will replace LaHood? Photo via League of American Bicyclists

Here in Washington the rumor mill is swirling with names and questions:

  • Will it be the National Transportation Safety Board Chairwoman Debbie Hersman? She’s already been meeting with Senate Commerce Committee members. (The Commerce Committee holds nomination hearings for the position of Transportation Secretary)
  • What about Mayor Villaraigosa of Los Angeles? He seemed like a favorite until he announced he wanted to complete is full term as Mayor — which runs until June 30th. Would President Obama wait that long to nominate a cabinet member?
  • What about former Governors Christine Gregoire of Washington, or Jennifer Granholm of Michigan? Their names are being tossed around for many different cabinet positions.

Speculating on cabinet nominations is a common pastime in Washington, but not necessarily a productive one. As the selection of the next Transportation Secretary gets closer, the America Bikes coalition sent a letter to the President weighing in on the characteristics and qualities we most hope to see in the next Secretary of Transportation.

… We sincerely hope [LaHood's] tenure — and his legacy — is just the start of a new era of transportation policy that embraces all modes of transportation equally and ensures that transportation is more than just an end in itself. We hope your next appointment to this critical position: continues the extraordinary collaboration between DOT, EPA, and HUD, and even extends this multi-disciplinary approach to include health and energy agencies; builds on the remarkable success of the TIGER program in getting more funds directly into the hands of local government entities, where smarter, more equitable and inclusive community development projects emerge, and responds to the clear need for real transportation choices and options to be available to all in our communities…

Read the full letter below, or download it as a PDF

And remember, you can say thank you to Secretary LaHood at his last National Bike Summit in March

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