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Politics

Vern Buchanan Takes Over as GOP Co-Chair of Congressional Bicycle Caucus

February 10, 2015 - 6:00pm

On Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., who rides more than 70 miles a week on his bicycle, joined U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., as the co-chair of the Congressional Bike Caucus.

With between 140--60 members in recent years, the caucus promotes biking, road safety and bike trails. Buchanan -- whose name has emerged in recent weeks as a potential U.S. Senate candidate if U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., does not run for a second term -- replaces former U.S. Rep. Tom Petri, R-Wis., as the Republican co-chair of the caucus.

I am excited to join my friend and colleague, Congressman Blumenauer, in leading the Congressional Bike Caucus. Buchanan, the only member of the Florida delegation on the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, said on Wednesday as he started his new duties. Bicycling is good for the economy, the environment and people's health.

When I came to Congress in 1996, biking made it easy to bond with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, Blumenauer said. The Bike Caucus is a way to leverage that bipartisanship to advance a national movement that is making America safer, healthier, and more economically secure. Im very excited to work with my friend Vern, and I am encouraged by the jolt of new energy he brings to this important effort.

Across the nation, bicycling is becoming an important part of the economy. A report from the Outdoor Industry Association shows bicycling adds $10.5 billion to the American economy and adds 750,000 jobs.

Buchanans new post won the applause of Patrick Lui, the bicycle, pedestrian and trails coordinator for Sarasota County.

Sarasota County recognizes the importance of our intergovernmental coordination, partnerships and engagement of our community to advance the quality of biking and other multimodal opportunities. We are excited for the opportunities that the caucus will bring on both a national and local level.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com or follow him on Twitter: @KevinDerbySSN

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