There is a saying in the cooperative world that “we were born in politics and we will die in politics.” President Franklin Delano Roosevelt passed the Rural Electrification Act of 1936 that provided federal loans for the installation of electrical distribution systems to serve isolated rural areas of the United States. From the inception of Southeast Iowa Cooperative Electric Association in 1938, to a name change in the year 2000 of Access Energy Cooperative, your cooperative remains very active on the political scene to make sure the cooperative’s interests are conveyed to legislators on the federal, state and local level.
To this day, the staff and board of directors maintain relationships with our local legislators. We visit with them frequently to make sure they understand the cooperative business model. Rest assured that local legislators are working on your behalf.
Every year we spend a few days at the Iowa State Capitol discussing with legislators issues concerning the cooperative. In March, electric cooperatives throughout the state converge on the capital to have REC on the Hill. The cooperatives take over the rotunda to set up displays for the legislators. The displays range from safety to energy efficiency. In addition to REC Day on the Hill, your board spends a day visiting with legislators about topics pertinent to the cooperative. Our goal is to make sure they can make a very informed decision on issues regarding the cooperative. Our contacts are not only personal visits at the capitol, but also emails and phones calls with questions that might arise.
Whether you like politics or not, we are involved because of need. We make sure that Access Energy Cooperative’s members are in our best interest when we visit with the legislators. Even if we do not have issues directly affecting the cooperative we still maintain the relationships. Sometimes when they have contentious issues we are a friendly face for them.