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Governor bikes to work: “We all have to change”

Posted by on June 2nd, 2008 at 1:43 pm

“If the Governor can get on a bicycle and ride this summer it is a symbol to the rest of us… we all have to change.”
Gov. Kulongoski

Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski rode a bike to work this morning. Afterward, he delivered a brief speech in his office where he said he was trying to “send a message to every citizen in this state.”

The Oregonian published a video (watch it below) of the ride and his speech.

What struck me about the Governor was not so much that he rode his bike (I’d be more impressed if he made it part of his daily regimen), but the way he spoke. He delivered his brief address with conviction and he seemed to have a sincere energy for convincing people to re-think the way they get around.

Below is the transcribed text of his address, followed by the Oregonian video:

“The symbolism of it isn’t so much, look at the governor, it’s trying to send a message to every citizen in this state that climate change is an individual action on each and every one of our parts.

It is important for the public to finally come to grips with the belief that in fact, technology is not going to get us out of this and that this isn’t another one of those issues where the politicians can say well somebody else will pay for it. We’re all going to pay for it because we have all contributed to the conditions we currently have.

The only way that this country and this state can actually make a change is every single citizen has to understand there is a lifestyle change coming to each and every one of us. That’s the message. And that’s what I hope to send out of this. If the Governor can get on a bicycle and ride this summer it is a symbol to the rest of us… we all have to change.”

Watch the video below:

I can hardly wait for the 2009 legislative session!

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  • nuovorecord June 2, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    Good job, Ted. Keep it up!

    I hope politicians will get braver about telling the public things they may not want to hear. \”We’re all going to pay for it because we have all contributed to the conditions we currently have\” is a good start.

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  • Val June 2, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    Not bad at all (better if he keeps it up, of course). And way up here in Seattle we have a mayor who loves to make noise about making our city bike freindly and reducing the number of cars on the road, but won\’t even consider actually riding even once. His latest excuse was that he needs to have his assistants and bodyguards along at all times (before that, it was that he had a family, and it would be irresponsible for him to take that kind of risk). Considering the traffic, I\’d love to have some bodyguards.

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  • Adam June 2, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    I applaud Ted on his speech and for taking that ride, but to me it doesn\’t mean much unless he keeps it up. Keep that car parked and pedal!

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  • Ron June 2, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    Yeah, complete silliness.

    Ride even once or twice a week, and then tell me about symbolism Mr. Governor.

    A+ on the assignment, F for the course.

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  • throwtheslinky June 2, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    We all can take individual action, sure, and hopping on your bike is an excellent first step, but our actions aren\’t going to mean much if the government doesn\’t put strict regulations on the corporations that have done (and continue to do, at a great profit) a lot more than we individual little citizens have done to bring on climate change. When is Ted scheduled to give a speech to Exxon, Shell, et al?

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  • Dave Sohigian June 2, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    I agree with nuovorecord that his speech was braver than we often hear from politicians. The changes need to come from us and our leaders (private and public) need to get on board and set the example.

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  • […] Governor bikes to work: “We all have to change” […]

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  • tonyt June 2, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    \”We all have to change.\”

    Show us Governor, don\’t just tell us.

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  • bahueh June 2, 2008 at 4:17 pm

    in support of Ted, he did pass legislation requiring 25% of your electricity to be produced by renewable sources within the next few decades…a reasonable time frame as it requires an entirely new infrastructure…

    and please, for those of you barking about corporate profits and accountability…let me clue you in…if you don\’t buy their products, they won\’t make a profit.

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  • Matthew Denton June 2, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    \”It is important for the public to finally come to grips with the belief that in fact, technology is not going to get us out of this\”

    Technology will save us. For instance, look at technology like the fuel cell. Bush mentioned the fuel cell in his 2003 State of the Union Address, but the first fuel cell was actually built back in 1845. Maybe, just maybe, in the time since then newer/better technology has come out, like the safety bicycle. First build in 1885, a whole 40 year later than the fuel cell. Even better, the newer technology has already been mass produced and bought down to a level affordable by consumers, and is sitting in most people\’s garages right now. All they need is to get it down off the hooks and ride it around…

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  • Metal Cowboy June 2, 2008 at 6:03 pm

    Echoing Behuah\’s comments, society is just a bunch of people who choose how, what and where to shop, consume, transport themselves by, etc. Corporations only have the power we give them. The tricky part is that a large enough mass of people have to shift those behaviors that will foster a cleaner, civil just world. but to say that little citizens can\’t do anything is emasculating yourself and dimmishing the power that we already possess. It\’s man/woman\’s individual weakness or strenght of character that determine the direction of a society.

    Shorthand, ride a bicycle stop buying crap you don\’t need, buy the stop you need at or close to the source, have the courage to speak up about what we need to do even in the face of what looks like unstoppable corporate power and vote for people who share values you believe.
    And let\’s give Ted some strokes for biking today and briging the bike into the media spotlight. Maybe if we got him a commute buddy….

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  • Specner June 3, 2008 at 8:18 am

    How about Ted make the ride without a state trooper in blocker position behind him. If you or I rode in the middle of a street like the Trooper in the video did, we\’d be run off the road.

    Try plain clothes for the bodyguard and let Ted experience what it is really like to ride on the streets.

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  • JE June 3, 2008 at 9:39 am

    And the CRC (which he supports) fits into this \”change\” how?

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  • Lenny Anderson June 3, 2008 at 10:11 am

    The Gov definitely needs to \”walk the talk\” or perhaps \”ride the tide\” on the Columbia River Crossing.
    He can start with a letter supporting tolling now as proposed by three Metro councilors.

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  • a.O June 3, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    \”…we all have to change.\”

    Well, some of us more than others, Ted.

    I think the best news recently is the announcements by GM and Ford that they will close several truck manufacturing plants and shift production toward more fuel-efficient motor vehicles. Better yet, GM has set a firm production schedule for the Chevy Volt and is considering discontinuing or selling the Hummer brand. Welcome to Peak Oil! We could sit around all day and speculate on why it took them this long to figure this out, but the bottom line is that a journey of a thousand miles begins with the smallest step.

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  • Mark C June 3, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    I just read the article in today\’s O. John Charles of the Cascade Policy Institute is living in the past. What looked good at $1.50/gallon doesn\’t look quite so good at $4.00/gallon. Of course people are going to reevaluate.

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  • Racer X June 4, 2008 at 1:21 am

    I give the OR gov some minor credit…I hope he rides more than one day…and if he can get those Salem technocrats on a bike or bus once a week would be great. (Perhaps his trooper can trade up for a scooter for escort duties.)

    Well we all have our fair weather bike friendly politicans…

    …I think Vancouver\’s Mayor Pollard rides his bike between meetings inside city hall. (He has a nice new free/ dedicated parking stall for his low emission Cadillac.)

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