Nuts About Bikes

Ed Rendell's Washington Future?

Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell - a documented friend of motorcyclists - has been considered among the short-list candidates for President-Elect Obama's cabinet.

Nice, but unlikely, says The Motorcycle Riders Foundation - as outlined in this report on the topic of 12/2/08, written by Charles Umbenhauer, ABATE of Pennsylvania's BikePac Chairman.

Rendell Watch
By Charles Umbenhauer

It's no secret that Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell is on an Obama short list where he is being considered for Secretary of Transportation.

While this would be a good pick from the perspective of motorcyclists nationwide, it unfortunately, will probably not happen. Rendell has repeatedly stated that he will not leave office as Governor until his term expires in January 2011.

Recent developments in Pennsylvania have also complicated any attempt for Rendell to leave office early and accept an Obama appointment.

Early in November our Lt. Governor, Catherine Baker Knoll, unexpectedly passed away while battling cancer. She has been replaced by Senator Joseph Scarnati who will be both Lt. Governor and also continue to hold his position as President Pro Tempore of the Senate. Scarnati is a Republican while Rendell is a Democrat. If Rendell were to leave office early, that would pave the way for Senator Scarnati to step into the office of Governor. Rendell is not likely to allow that to happen.

Ed Rendell has been and continues to be a friend of motorcyclists. In 2003 he signed a bill that modified the 35 year old mandatory helmet law for all riders in Pennsylvania. Before Rendell became Governor he was Mayor of Philadelphia. During that time he became friendly with the ABATE organization. The Delaware Valley Chapter of ABATE organizes a yearly ride to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia each holiday season. The event draws 60,000 motorcyclists to the single day event and supplies toys to not only the Children's Hospital but to other agencies in the greater Philadelphia area. Mayor Rendell was the Parade Marshall during that time and became familiar with the good charitable works of motorcyclists. He also became familiar with the ABATE legislative agenda and often joked with ABATE officers that if he became Governor he would sign a modified helmet bill allowing freedom of choice for adult riders.

Rendell remained true to his word and signed the bill in his first term as Governor. The Governor also spoke at many of the annual Motorcyclists' Rights Rallies held at the state capitol, and was often the guest of ABATE at their annual Leadership and Legislative Seminar.

Rendell has expressed an interest in working in Washington after his term as Governor ends. Let's hope that his talents and extraordinary support for motorcyclists eventually finds Ed Rendell in DC.

©2008 the Motorcycle Riders Foundation, MRF