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Rural Missouri Magazine

Your voice will be heard

by Barry Hart

by Barry Hart

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 stronger opponents.

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 works.

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 formulas.

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.

When 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 heard.

Hart is executive vice president of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives.

E-mail Barry Hart

 

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Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives

Rural Missouri
2722 E. McCarty Street
P.O. Box 1645 • Jefferson City, Mo. 65102
573-659-3423

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