government

I voted sticker

Don't veto your vote

Every election is determined by the people who show up.” It’s a platitude that Americans dust off every four years as we prepare to go to the ballot box either to cast a vote for change or to stay the course. Pundits traditionally delight in telling us that this is the most important election in the history of the democratic process. In reality, every election is an essential exercise of democracy that allows our voices to be heard through the ballot we cast.

Digital divide

Kyle Hicks sat at his computer at his Lancaster-area home, the homework assignment for his College Credit Plus course due in a few hours. He knew he was cutting it close.

Like a vast number of people in rural areas of Ohio and the rest of the nation, Hicks and his family have limited access to high-speed internet. The one company that provides broadband service where he lives promises connection speeds “up to 5 megabits per second,” but he says tests on the line show it’s rarely above 1 Mbps. What’s more, service in his area, even at that level, is expensive.

Satellite broadband could be an option but costs even more.

Powerlines in sunlight

Taking action

More than we like, the will and whims of government affect your electric cooperative’s costs and operational decisions. Federal and state elected officials and their appointed regulators set laws and rules that govern a range of issues, including regional electric markets, grid access, environmental impacts, employment laws, and taxes and fees, all of which affect the cost and reliability of your electric service. Government relations and advocacy are an essential part of the job of managing an electric cooperative.

Cooperative leaders sit with U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs

Using our voice

As you might imagine, electric cooperatives have a great story to tell.

We talk about our history, about rural neighbors who banded together to bring electricity to their homes and farms when no one else would.

We talk about the present, about the vital service we provide, and about our involvement in our communities — locally, nationally, and even internationally.

Cooperative leaders sit around a table talking with Senator Sherrod Brown

Co-ops go to Washington

The 2016 elections demonstrated the influence of rural voters — and, therefore, let elected officials know in no uncertain terms to pay attention to the needs of rural America.

While the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association has a team of government affairs professionals lobbying Congress every day, local cooperative leaders make an annual trek to Washington, D.C., every April so those federal policymakers hear directly from folks from their district or home state.

Marc Armstrong, director of government affairs for Ohio's Electric Cooperatives, appears on TV next to a landscape of a farm.

Connecting city with country

Electric cooperatives have a long history of providing service where there was an unfilled need. It’s a story that especially resonates with Patrick Gottsch.

In the late 1990s, Gottsch, then a sales executive for a successful livestock auction, looked at cable television lineups around the country and noticed something missing: there was no rural-focused programming anywhere on the dial.

What we're thankful for

Almost daily, I find myself disappointed, even upset, with the words and actions of people in leadership positions — politicians, business executives, media talking heads — saying and doing things that range from annoying to just plain wrong. Perhaps you can empathize. But as I consider how to “fix” the problems, I soon realize how blessed we are with the system we have and with the people in our families, in our communities, at work, and behind the scenes who make everyday life great. That gratitude certainly extends to the electric cooperative community.

2018 Midterm Election Q & A

Ohioans face some significant choices as they enter the voting booth next month — not the least of which are whom to elect as the next governor and which candidate will best represent the state in the U.S. Senate.

Knowing the importance of electric cooperative voters in the campaigns, the major-party candidates for the two offices took some time recently to answer questions that are crucial to Ohio Cooperative Living readers.

U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan listens to a point during a meeting with leaders from Ohio electric cooperatives during the 2018 legislative conferences in Washington, D.C.

Farm bill front and center

Ohio electric cooperative leaders joined more than 2,000 of their counterparts from around the country in April to discuss legislative and regulatory concerns with members of Congress at the 2018 NRECA Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C.

The conference, held annually, allows co-op leaders to build relationships with policymakers that improve their members’ lives every day.