Things are just not the same this week in D.C. In an ordinary world, the third week of May would be filled with motorcycles rolling down Constitution Avenue and hundreds of bikers roaming the halls of Congress. The MRF D.C. Team is beyond disappointed that we had to cancel this year's Bikers Inside the Beltway. Nothing is better than hearing a few hundred motorcycles pull up the U.S. Capitol and seeing riders meet with Representatives and Senators to advocate on behalf of the motorcycle community. Citizen lobbyists can be the most compelling voices on Capitol Hill, and there is no question that Bikers Inside the Beltway creates a buzz that helps elevate our priorities with lawmakers.
Despite working from home and in abandoned office buildings, we have been hard at work advocating for our priorities in any way possible. Here are a few examples of what we've been up to. Kirk "Hardtail" Willard, the President of the MRF, sent nearly 100 personalized letters to members of the Transportation and Commerce committees outlining our asks in the upcoming 2020 Highway bill.
The DC team provided the leadership of each SMRO contact information for their Congressional delegation transportation staff, a prewritten email, and the 2020 legislative talking points. The leaders of each SMRO are personally emailing Congressional staff with the information we provided. So that despite not being in D.C. to deliver the message in person, they are receiving the message electronically. Tiffany and Rocky even recorded a 20 minute "How to" video detailing what we wanted to be done and explaining some of the issues we are advocating for legislatively.
We had several phone conversations with staff on Capitol Hill, including the Co-Chairman of the House Motorcycle Caucus Rep. Burgess (Texas) and Rep. Walberg (Michigan) as well as longtime motorcycle champion Senator Johnson (Wisconsin). We've also been in direct contact with committee staff in both the House and the Senate. This led to us being tipped off on the potential for helmet language being added to potential legislation.
In conjunction with ABATE of Ohio and the AMA, we held a streaming video meeting with Congressman Troy Balderson of Ohio. The Congressman, who is a biker and a member of the Transportation Committee, outlined what he has been working on and took questions from us on our top priorities. If we can find other lawmakers willing to do a similar type of meeting, we will invite the SMRO in that state to join.
Now we are turning to you! Since we cannot be seen on Capitol Hill this week, we need them to hear us! Please click on this link and contact your elected officials. It takes just a few minutes to send a letter to Congress outlining the priorities of the MRF. And since sharing is caring, please share this link with other riders, so we overwhelm these lawmakers with numbers.
Have a fantastic Memorial Day weekend!
Your still quarantined D.C. team,
Rocky & Tiffany