Engage Your Elected Officials! The Importance of Political Leadership

Moderated by Brian Housh with Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and presented by a panel of elected officials, this webinar will discuss successful tactics & strategies employed to establish funding mechanisms and innovative policy initiatives that support the development of trail networks demanded by constituents.

Presented by:

Event Details

July 26, 2018

10:00 am (Pacific Standard Time)

** This event has passed **


FREE for members
FREE for nonmembers

Download a recording


Closed Captioning is available for this webinar.
Learning Credits
are available for this webinar.

Webinar Partners


Webinar Outline

Learn from this panel of elected officials about successful tactics & strategies employed to establish funding mechanisms and innovative policy initiatives that support the development of trail networks demanded by constituents. These political leaders discuss the importance of recreational/active transportation trails in helping communities to thrive via economic development, health & safety, environmental sustainability and inclusiveness/diversity in the context of transformative projects, emphasizing critical lessons learned. This webinar highlights best practices for collaboration among advocates, decision makers and key stakeholders in their efforts to facilitate bicycle-pedestrian, transit-friendly and complementary trail infrastructure.

Learning objectives:

  • Gain awareness of current local/state trail initiatives and past/ongoing success stories re: trail development.
  • Understand effective tactics and strategies to engage elected officials and move trail network projects forward.
  • Develop insight into generating 'buy in' for policy proposals among key stakeholders, including "elected.”
  • Better comprehend viable communication/education approaches via authentic dialogue with political leaders.
  • Become knowledgeable about how to interact and collaborate with elected officials in an impactful way.
  • Meaningfully connect with elected officials with case studies providing insight into their priorities & concerns.


Tom Henry, Mayor, City of Fort Wayne, Indiana

Tom Henry is serving in his third term as Mayor of Fort Wayne. Leading Indiana’s second largest city, Mayor Henry is making government the best it can be for residents and businesses by demonstrating a commitment to engagement, innovation, and performance.

Mayor Henry has a strong record of successes in neighborhood infrastructure improvements, downtown development, job creation, business expansions, advances in public safety, and enhancements to the City’s world-class park system.

Before being elected Mayor, he served from 1983-2003 on Fort Wayne City Council, representing northwest Fort Wayne.

Mayor Henry has lived in Fort Wayne almost all his life and began his career in the private sector as CEO of a group purchasing organization serving hospitals. He then went on to become a successful small business owner of a local insurance agency and healthcare consulting firm.


Representative Catherine D. Ingram, State of Ohio

As a public servant, university instructor, realtor, neighborhood leader, mom and grandmother, Catherine Ingram knows how much the decisions made in Columbus personally impact all of us.

Catherine Ingram has been a member of the Cincinnati Board of Education for over 20 years, serving as president and vice president in the mid-90's. Ms. Ingram has served on numerous board committees and, for many years, in a leadership role as Finance Committee chair.

Catherine Ingram is currently serving the State of Ohio as a Representative in the 32nd House District.


Representative Emilia Strong Sykes, State of Ohio

Born and raised in Akron, State Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes was elected to represent her hometown (OH-34) in November 2014. Two years later, Sykes was elected by her colleagues to serve in leadership as the assistant minority whip. With a strong sense of responsibility for the well-being of those that she serves, Sykes has tackled the challenges of her district with unmatched passion and dedication.


Patrick Wojahn, Mayor, City of College Park, Maryland

Patrick Wojahn serves is the mayor of the City of College Park, Maryland, just outside of Washington, DC. Patrick also works as Director of Government Relations at Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC), which works to build connected and safe trails and networks for bicycling and walking to promote healthy places for healthy people. Before coming to RTC, Patrick provided legal services for people with disabilities in the DC metro area, and advocated in Congress for better services for people with disabilities. Patrick grew up in Wisconsin and moved to the Washington, DC area to go to law school. He has lived for 15 years in College Park, Maryland, with his husband Dave. Before his election to serve as mayor in 2015, Patrick served on the College Park City Council for 8 years. Over his time in office, Patrick has worked to promote smart growth and sustainability and promote quality redevelopment and better University relations to enhance the quality of life of College Park residents. Patrick also serves on the Executive Committee of the National League of Cities and on the Board of Directors of the Maryland Municipal League.


Brian K. Housh, Midwest Policy Manager, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC)

Brian K. Housh is an avid cyclist and Council President for the Village of Yellow Springs in Ohio, where his active-transportation lifestyle is supported by living along the Little Miami Scenic Trail—which is part of the nation’s largest paved trail network. He has been actively engaged in regional economic development initiatives that emphasize strategies to enhance quality of life, create jobs and increase commerce via arts, culture and environmental sustainability. A graduate of the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations and a JD/MBA (Environmental Law/Finance and Entrepreneurship), Brian brings a community development perspective to RTC’s policy team.

Contact: brianh@railstotrails.org


Closed Captioning

We are offering closed captioning for our webinars, thanks to a partnership with VZP Digital. If you are in need of this service, please email us prior to the webinar. An unedited transcript will be sent to all attendees following the webinar.

Learning Credits and CEUs

American Trails is proud to be a certified provider of the following learning credits and continuing education opportunities:

  • Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System (LA CES)
  • American Institute of Certified Planners Continuing Maintenance (AICP CM)
  • National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) CEU equivalency petition

Learning credits are included in the registration fee. Free webinars require a $15 fee for learning credits.

Our webinars earn the following credits: AICP CM (1.5), LA CES (1.5), and NRPA CEU petition equivalency (0.10).