New League Staff: Meet Emma Meehan
Meet the newest member of the League team: Emma Meehan! As our incoming federal policy fellow, Emma works with our deputy executive director Caron Whitaker to further our efforts in Washington. The League’s efforts in DC focus on lobbying Congress and the administration, and working alongside our national advocacy partners to secure policies and funding that make it safer and easier for people to bike, walk and roll across the country. With a background in political staffing and policy advocacy, we’re excited to see Emma dive into the work for better bicycling at the national level. Welcome aboard, Emma!
What’s your first memory of riding a bike?
Like many things in my childhood, I was motivated to start biking by keeping up with my older siblings. When my sister received a RipStik for Christmas, I couldn’t help but envy her, especially when my mom deemed it too dangerous for a 4-year-old like me. As a consolation, I was taught to ride a bike–which seems to have served me well, right?
We had recently moved to Paris, France, where my sisters and I would soon accompany our mom on weekly trips to pick up a baguette and croissants from the neighborhood bakery. She would let us pedal to the end of each block before we had to turn back to her walking, continuing this pattern until we arrived. My mom recalls me being the child who was seemingly unable to sit still or run out of energy. I insisted on being the one who didn’t sit in the stroller while we explored a new neighborhood or city, despite being more than three years younger than my oldest sister, who then shamelessly took on the stroller role.
How do you see your previous work translating to working on transportation policy on the national level with the League?
I have been politically engaged for as long as I can remember. I chose to major in the one thing my dad always told me I couldn’t: political science. Much of my previous work is in policy advocacy and political staffing, oftentimes with transportation and equity implications. Venturing beyond political offices to join a non-profit in the policy space marks an exciting new chapter in my professional journey, and I’m eager to learn even more about transportation policy and congressional affairs.
What motivates you to do this kind of work?
Working in transportation policy has reignited a core belief within me: personal mobility extends beyond policy; it embodies freedom. Every person deserves the liberty to move in the manner that aligns with their needs. Advocating for bike and pedestrian initiatives is a crucial element to reducing poverty and enhancing overall quality of life.
What do you hope to take away from your year-long fellowship with the League?
One year from now, I hope to have a comprehensive understanding of the U.S. transportation system, its implications for local and state leaders, and effective ways to minimize climate impact. I also want to hone my skills in writing to non-partisan audiences.
What are some of your favorite routes and trails to explore?
I love exploring cities on two wheels. There is something unique about discovering a new neighborhood or city on a bike–it offers an intimate, immersive experience unlike other modes of transport. The Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail in Austin, Texas takes you on paths around Lady Bird Lake and feeds into the vibrant downtown scene. Cycling this trail allows you to get to know both the city and beautiful nature that surrounds it.