• Two State of the State speeches in a row

    by  • January 21, 2013 • Cool People, Walkable Bikeable Delaware • 1 Comment

    In his 2012 State of the State speech, Governor Markell said we could “make Delaware one of the most walkable and bikeable states in America.”  Last Thursday in his 2013 State of the State speech he said “in the years to come, Delawareans will be able to walk and bike to work because of the investments we are making today.”

    A State of the State speech by a Governor is important.  It lays out his or her vision for the state of which he or she is the chief executive.  Governor Markell’s vision for Delaware includes improved schools, increased entrepreneurship, low-cost energy, new gun safety legislation, expanded mental health services, action to protect Delaware from flooding during future storms…and investments in walking and bicycling.

    How does Governor Markell’s vision for Delaware compare to his colleagues Governors Christie, Corbett and O’Malley?

    In his 2012 New Jersey State of the State speech, Governor Christie referred to “education”, “school” and “teacher” (46 times), “tax” and “taxpayers” (39 times), “job” (23 times) and “budget” (10 times).  But he does not mention “walk”, “walking”, “pedestrian”, “bike”, “bicycle”, “bicycling” or “bicyclist” even once.  Two weeks ago in his 2013 State of the State, Governor Christie again talked about “education”, “school” and “teacher” (27 times), “tax” and “taxpayers” (18 times), “job” (15 times) and “budget” (11 times).  And, of course, he refers to “Sandy”, “storm” and “flood” (49 times).  But, again, he did not mention “walk”, “walking”, “pedestrian”, “bike”, “bicycle”, “bicycling” or “bicyclist”.

    Governor Corbett of Pennsylvania used the words “tax” and “spend” (or variations thereof) 36 times in his 2012 State of the State speech.  He used the words “education” and “school” (or variations) 22 times. But “walk”, “walking”, “pedestrian”, “bike”, “bicycle”, “bicycling” or “bicyclist” do not appear in his 2012 speech.

    Governor O’Malley of Maryland’s 2012 State of the State speech focused heavily on “job”s (49 mentions).  But, like Governors Christie and Corbett, he did not at any point use the words “walk”, “walking”, “pedestrian”, “bike”, “bicycle”, “bicycling” or “bicyclist”.

    For two years in a row, Governor Markell has given a prominent shout out to walking and cycling in his State of the State speech. And he has followed his words with action! This past November he was re-elected with 70% of the vote. In our mid-Atlantic region of states he is unique right now but we hope to see Governors Christie, Corbett and O’Malley follow his lead.  Or, if not them, perhaps their more politically savvy successors.


      James Wilson is the executive director of Bike Delaware.






    2013 Delaware State of the State

    Leadership (2012 Delaware State of the State)

    Walkable Bikeable Delaware

    • Reason #5: Because cycling projects create many more jobs than road projects


    James Wilson is the executive director of Bike Delaware. He is a member of the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (by whom he was named the 2014 Professional of the Year, Nonprofit Sector), the Institute of Transportation Engineers and the Delaware Bicycle Council. He is the co-chair of the policy committee of the Advisory Council on Walkability and Pedestrian Awareness and serves on the board of directors of the Delaware Valley Smart Growth Alliance. He holds engineering degrees from Yale University and the University of Texas at Austin and is the only registered lobbyist for cycling and walking in Delaware. He helped create, and continues to lead Bike Delaware's participation in, the Walkable Bikeable Delaware campaign. During his tenure as Bike Delaware's executive director, Delaware advanced in the national Bicycle Friendly State rankings for five years in a row, farther and faster than any other state, ever.

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