Portland Congressman to George Will: Let’s Debate

bowties.jpgWill vs. Blumenauer: Battle of the bowties.

Just when you thought George Will’s pouty, ill-informed tirade against new Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was going to stand unchallenged, here comes Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR).

Blumenauer, co-chief of the Congressional Bike Caucus and a Streetfilms favorite,
released a statement this morning that dares the conservative pundit to
come to Portland for a debate on sustainable urban planning and
transportation policy.

The gauntlet was first thrown via Twitter, where Blumenauer posted: "it’s LaHood that gets it. George Will doesn’t …" before following up with a sarcastic reference to the love of bowties that both men share.

So
is Will prepared to answer the call and head northwest? We’ve got a
call in to Newsweek’s spokeswoman, and will keep you posted on any
response we receive.

Meanwhile, you can read Blumenauer’s full statement to Will after the jump.

In
his article, Mr. Will proves that he is mired in a one-dimensional
past, one that the city of Portland has successfully overcome” said
Blumenauer. “He opposes policies that will provide Americans with more
choices while saving them money, creating jobs and protecting the
environment. In Portland we have been able to increase productivity,
boost our economy, and invest in our city’s resources by taking a
well-rounded approach to transportation. Secretary LaHood shares this
comprehensive view on transportation options for our nation — it’s not
about behavior modification its about giving Americans the freedom to
choose more than just the highway or byway.

Rather than pontificate about practicality from afar, I
challenge Mr. Will to come experience Portland, and then debate the
facts, the future and the visions we offer,” continued Blumenauer. “I
am proud to defend the Portland model so painstakingly developed and
implemented over the last 1/3 of a century. Maybe he will understand
why young well educated people move here without jobs and older, well
established business and professional people won’t leave for jobs that
pay more. We will be happy to buy his plane ticket and give him a
bottle of Oregon pinot to die for.

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Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer is one of Capitol Hill’s strongest voices for walking, biking and transit. Soon after arriving in Congress in 1996, he started the Congressional Bike Caucus, now more than 160 members strong, and he’s the founding chairman of the House’s new "Livable Communities Task Force," which he announced two weeks ago here […]