I couldn’t help myself. I wrote an e-letter to my state senator, Doctor Rand Paul (R) KY.
The reason: Dr Paul proposed an amendment that would have blocked ‘transportation enhancements’–aka bike lanes and walk paths. (Thankfully it was defeated.)
How is it possible for a real-life doctor to oppose spending that fosters human-powered transportation? How can a cyclist oppose bike lanes? And even Republicans spend money; why not on bike paths?
Here’s what I submitted to his website:
I am writing to you as a fellow doctor, cyclist and registered Republican.
Mostly I like your message. (Ed note: my politically-savvy friends advise: always lead with the positive.)
But I do not understand your recent anti-cycling legislative efforts.
You told me (at the Jefferson County Lincoln Dinner this Feb) that you rode a recumbent bike. If this is true, you must know the difficulties that Americans who choose human-powered transportation face. It’s scary out there my friend. Nearly every day I am threatened by an over-scheduled, distracted and inflamed driver. Wait…these may be my AFib patients!
That’s one reason to seek an explanation.
As a doctor who resides in KY, you also know what sedentary-ism has reaped. You said the Transportation Enhancement amendment should be non-controversial and bi-partisan. But I find it controversial because it threatens funding for bike paths and walkways. And communities that make it harder to ride or walk are part of the nation’s health consumption crisis. These “squirrel sanctuaries,” as you call them, are far from frivolous. Just come visit me in the office for a few hours and you can see first hand what happens when people drive too much and pedal too little.
And finally, as a Republican, it seems to me that since I pay taxes, it’s okay to spend my money to help make our environment friendlier for heart-healthy endeavors. These investments would surely prove fiscally responsible in the long-run. As you remember, in Medicine we call such therapies…”cost-effective.”
This is my first ever letter to a politician. It’s official: I can now be called old.
I’ll let you know what he (or his staff) say in return.