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Rural Missouri Magazine

Happy New Year

by Barry Hart

by Barry Hart

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.

The 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 has decreased.

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.

Missouri averages 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.

But for rural organizations like the electric cooperatives to succeed in the statehouse, they must also have the support of our urban legislators. That’s why the state legislative rally we host in January will also reach out to senators and representatives from urban districts.

We know 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 New Year!

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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