As the first session
of the 94th Missouri General Assembly gets underway in our state Capitol,
Missouri’s electric cooperatives will be
out in force getting to know our legislators. A new event patterned after
the annual national legislative rally in Washington, D.C., will bring
more than 200 electric cooperative directors, managers and key staff
to Jefferson City on Jan. 9-10.
The national conference
involves nearly 2,000 co-op leaders from around the nation who descend
on Capitol Hill well-prepared to deliver your cooperative’s
message to congressional leaders. It’s an annual ritual that has, in
recent years, helped electric cooperatives maintain critical funding from the
Rural Utilities Service and kept co-op-friendly provisions in the energy bill.
new state rally, on a smaller scale of course, hopes to build on the success
of the national program.
It’s no secret
that rural people are outnumbered in our state Capitol. Rural populations
have not grown as fast as the urban and suburban areas, so their representation
Add to that Missouri’s
term limits law and you can see that anyone with a stake in development
of state policy must get to know their legislators early and visit
with them often.
40 new legislators every two years and has 30 new ones this year. That’s
a lot of new people to get to know.
As these new faces
come to the Capitol, your electric cooperative, through the Association
of Missouri Electric Cooperatives, makes every effort it can to get
to know our legislative leaders.
We want them to understand
the issues that affect rural people and our rural communities. And
we especially want them to understand how the electric cooperative
business model is different from that of other Missouri utilities and
how successful the cooperative approach is in rural areas.
In the past,
electric cooperatives have enjoyed excellent support from our rural
lawmakers. They have understood that electric cooperatives are uniquely
positioned to serve as a catalyst to jump-start any effort to improve
the quality of life in rural areas.
They know your cooperative is dedicated to achieving that goal.
rural organizations like the electric cooperatives to succeed in the
statehouse, they must also have the support of our urban legislators.
why the state legislative rally we host in January will also
reach out to senators and representatives from urban districts.
they share our desire to make Missouri the greatest state in the nation.
You can be confident as a cooperative member that these 200 cooperative
managers, directors and employees will be well-prepared and represent
you well in our state Capitol. In the future, we will try and give
you an idea how the state rally went.
Oh, and I almost
forgot — happy
Hart is executive vice president of the Association
of Missouri Electric Cooperatives.