Bike Delaware Pushes Candidates to Support Bicycle and Pedestrian Funding
Oct 12, 2012
Election day is less than one month away; do you know where your candidates stand on bicycle and pedestrian issues? Bike Delaware is on its way to find out, with support from an Advocacy Advance Rapid Response Grant.
Delaware is known for its bike-friendly governor, Jack Markell, and we’ve shared their success story of winning unprecedented state dollars for bike/ped. However, one big win is not enough. Because of the turnover in the Delaware legislature, it is critical to identify and elect champions that will maintain previous – and unprecedented – funding levels for bicycle and pedestrian programs and projects.
Bike Delaware will use the $3,000 Rapid Response Grant to conduct a survey of every candidate running for general assembly and governor and get as may state legislators as possible on record on the specific issue of authorized state capital funding for bike/ped for FY2014. With a budget of only $15,000, this grant will support critical activities of a dedicated, burgeoning organization. The campaign is certainly urgent, with elections less than one month away.
Bike Delaware’s distributed membership base will ensure that nearly all legislators will receive a direct request for a response from within their district.
The candidate survey will build off of their 2010 survey, which has been used as a best practice in the recent Advocacy Advance report, “An Advocate’s Guide to Elections: Making Campaigns Work for Bicycling & Walking", and was used to launch their successful “Walkable, Bikeable Delaware” campaign.
“Candidate questionnaires and surveys can help advocacy groups gauge the level of knowledge and commitment of candidates on bicycling and walking issues,” says Darren Flusche, Policy Director of the League of American Bicyclists and Advocacy Advance. “Surveys educate candidates and can inform the activities of advocates after the election.”
For the state’s FY2013 budget, Bike Delaware won over $13 million in authorized state-dedicated bike/ped funding. However, state funding is just the first step; the second step is using state funding to compete for matching federal transportation dollars. Bike Delaware estimates that a win for FY2014 could be as much as $20 million in total funding.
“Strong elected leaders, who support bicycling and walking, are critical to the work of advocates and to the lives of everyone who bikes and walks,” says Darren Flusche. “Elections matter.”
The Advocacy Advance report continues with key tips for developing your survey:
Select questions that cover a variety of issues.
Select questions that matter to the community in terms of bicycling and waling and related transportation issues.
Questions that focus on issues of importance to your organization may be included so long as they are not biages, i.e. not worded so as to indicate the “right” response or otherwise reflect your organization’s agenda.
Consider whether you want the candidate’s response to be yes/no, support/oppose, multiple choice, or in an open-ended format. This will be determined by how you intend to use the information.
Give all candidates for the office an equal opportunity to participate
In general, if you think the question is biased or will elicit a response that will clearly indicate your preference for or against a particular candidate, you probably shouldn’t ask it.
Thanks to the support of SRAM Cycling Fund, Advocacy Advance has $18,500 remaining to fund organizations met with urgent and unexpected opportunities to win, increase, or preserve funding for biking and walking. There is no application deadline for these rolling grants and accepted proposals will be funded within one month.