voice will be heard
It has been almost
69 years since the rural electrification program began. To survive
and even prosper in that amount of time took considerable strength,
the kind that comes from constantly defending yourself against much
In fact, there’s
an old saying that electric co-ops were born in politics and if they
die it will be in politics.
The fact that electric
cooperatives are alive and well in Missouri speaks well of the many
people who were willing to do battle on behalf of your electric cooperative
and in the interest of you, the member, in the state and U.S. capitals.
It also reminds us that despite its many imperfections our democracy
Over the years rural
electric leaders burned up the highways between their local offices
and the state capital over issues as varied as territorial protection,
line duplication, power generation, environmental concerns and taxation
They have also supported
a wide variety of issues that affected quality of life in your community
and rural development. Over the years our rural lawmakers have done
a tremendous job protecting your interests despite being far outnumbered
by their urban colleagues. When Missouri’s
electric cooperatives ask them for help in the statehouse they do so
for a simple reason. They know we speak with a voice that comes from
the grassroots, and our positions have been developed by your elected
directors and your local electric cooperative managers.
When a rural
electric manager, director or employee contacts their legislator
they know their message will be heard. Over the years electric cooperative
leaders have presented their case honestly, even to the point of
letting the legislator know the opposition’s point of view.
we enter the offices of our elected officials we aren’t strangers.
That’s because electric cooperative people are involved in their
communities, serving on election committees, school boards, city councils
and other rural organizations, to name a few.
When we talk to our legislators they listen. It’s taken many years
to build the level of trust we experience in the state and U.S. capitals.
That process continues as we welcome lawmakers each year.
As we educate
them about the role of electric cooperatives we also thank them for
their part in the political process, that open door that is making
rural Missouri a better place in which to live.
The 2005 sessions
of the Missouri legislature and U.S. Congress are fast approaching.
Many energy and other issues will be considered that impact you and
your electric cooperative. You can be confidant our response to those
issues will be developed with you the member in mind and we will do
our best to communicate the positions effectively.
Your voice will be
Hart is executive vice president of the Association of Missouri