Award–winning journalist Andrea Bernstein is Senior Editor for Politics & Policy for WNYC News. She has previously served as Metro Editor, Political Director, Director of Transportation Nation, and Senior Reporter.
It was a wistful good-bye for transportation secretary Ray LaHood at the 2013 National Bike Summit.
The Secretary, who began with a low-profile that he quickly raised in the biking community by, among other things, jumping on a table at the 2010 Bike Summit Meeting to promote bikes, gave a long a loving paean to his administration's efforts to promote bike share, bike lanes, and safe biking.
"I guarantee you this," LaHood said, close to the beginning of his speech. "Whoever my successor is. You'll not have a secretary of transportation stand on the table and speak to you, that will never happen again."
"Since he was appointed in 2009, LaHood has been a true believer in the power of biking and has raised the credibility of bicycles as transportation at the federal level," the League wrote in its blog. “Ray LaHood is the first and only transportation secretary that keeps talking about bikes — even after we’ve left the room,” said League President Andy Clarke.
"The President recently told me that he ran into someone who said something about Ray LaHood,” the Secretary said in his speech. “The president said, ‘You must be a cyclist’ — and he was.”
LaHood has promoted bike share, bike lanes, and biking to work, and has argued -- often to unsympathetic former Republican colleagues in the House -- that biking should be given respectability as a mode of transportation.
For that, he'll be missed in biking circles. "What a ride these four-and-a-half years with all of you. You’ve made a great difference; you really have," LaHood told the cyclists.
To which the League replied: "Right back at you, Mr. Secretary."