33rd ANNUAL LEADERSHIP AND LEGISLATIVE SEMINAR
By Carol "Popcorn" Umbenhauer
Harrisburg, PA - The Alliance of Bikers Aimed Toward Education (ABATE of PA) hosted its annual Leadership and Legislative Seminar on January 26, 27, 2018 at the Red Lion Hotel in Harrisburg, PA. The event attracted a crowd of 406 politically active motorcyclists from Pennsylvania and surrounding states, in a tradition of successful meetings and fundraising for BikePAC, the motorcyclist political action committee.
Opening this year's meeting was an address by Senator Mike Regan which was followed by a question and answer session. Also addressing the attendees was Charles Umbenhauer, ABATE's longtime lobbyist and chairman of BikePAC.
To address motorcycling issues in Pennsylvania ABATE hosted a panel discussion with experts from various backgrounds relevant to motorcycling. Current topics of recent interest ranged from motorcycle profiling, lane splitting, and increasing penalties for not having the proper motorcycle endorsement on your license, lemon law and new rules for group riding. In addition there was a discussion on the PA Motorcycle Safety Program. Pennsylvania Cable Network was on site and videotaped the panel discussion for later broadcast and it was also streamed live.
Participating on the panel were Senator Mike Folmer, Representative Dawn Keefer, Representative Bill Kortz, Eric Bugaile, Executive Director of the House Transportation Committee, Nolan Ritchie, Executive Director of the Senate Transportation Committee, Jay Jackson, Motorcycle Riders Foundation Vice President, Mike Sayre, American Motorcyclist Association, Imre Szauter of the New Hampshire Motorcyclists Rights Organization and Kevin Snyder, past State Coordinator, ABATE of PA. The panel was moderated by Charles Umbenhauer, the ABATE lobbyist.
Following the panel discussion BikePAC held a reception with the panel participants as our special guests. Entertainment was provided by Sasparilla.
On Saturday there were several workshops dealing with Public Relations, Social Media, Lobbying and PACs, Small Games of Chance and Leadership to name a few. The afternoon activities concluded with the presentation of ABATE's Operation Save A Life Program hosted by Bob LeGore, Adam Gill and Mike Bretzman.
The focal point of the weekend was the awards banquet, which included the presentation of the prestigious Ed Fruecht, Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award. This year the award was presented to Mark "Radar" Mitchell of the Patriot Riders Chapter. The award was presented to Mark's family. Sadly, Mark passed away just the week before he would have personally accepted the award.
Other ABATE members who were presented with awards are as follows: Presidents Award - Rep. Mark Keller, Ridge Runners Chapter, Freedom Fighter Awards were presented to Representative Pam Snyder and Linda Smegal of the Mercer County Chapter. Leadership Award was presented to Gary Bracken of the Monterey Pass Chapter. Safety and Awareness award went to Ron Rohrbaugh, Mason Dixon Chapter and Golden Quill was presented to Brian Magness of the Mason Dixon Chapter and Bob Russell of the Lawrence County Chapter. Distinguished Service Awards were presented to Diane Evans of Chinklacamoose Chapter, Rosey Parsons of the Patriot Riders Chapter and Ed Keefer of Keystone Chapter who passed away last December. The award was accepted by Ruth Crouse, Chapter President. And finally, the Humanitarian Award went to Shera Frobe of the Butler County Chapter and the Indiana County Chapter was also recognized for their charity work.
By the end of the L & L Seminar $38,199.23 was raised for BikePAC. Since its inception in 1986, the political action committee has endorsed biker friendly candidates for the State Senate and House of Representatives.
ABATE of PA will hold its annual Motorcyclists Rights Rally at the state capitol on Monday, June 4, 2018.