Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue will be the keynote speaker at NRECA's 2018 Legislative Conference, which runs April 8-11 in Washington.

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., a member of the Senate Agriculture panel, will also speak on issues important to electric cooperatives.

"The Legislative Conference provides significant opportunity for co-ops to actively engage in Washington's political landscape and showcase our strong grassroots," said NRECA CEO Jim Matheson. "This annual event grows in importance each year through the strength and participation of our membership."

Matheson and NRECA President Phil Carson will present Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., with the Distinguished Service Award during a general session. Inhofe is a past chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

"The Legislative Conference this year will focus on the importance of investing in rural America," said Kirk Johnson, NRECA senior vice president for government relations. "We want Congress to focus on a strong rural development title in the Farm Bill, protecting the Power Marketing Administrations, dedicating resources to rural broadband, and lowering costs of co-op employee benefit programs."

The conference will provide opportunities for co-op members to visit lawmakers and meet with officials from Rural Utilities Services, Bureau of Land Management, Federal Emergency Management Agency and Fish and Wildlife Service.

Conference forums will focus on co-op priorities, including infrastructure and regulatory relief discussions with White House and Interior Department officials.

At the request of many co-ops, NRECA will also host panels on political engagement, lobbying and how to have effective meetings with members of Congress.