Hundreds of electric cooperative leaders will gather at NRECA’s 2023 Legislative Conference in the nation’s capital April 16-19 to urge Congress to tackle permitting reform, help fix supply chain problems and pass a new five-year Farm Bill.

“This Congress will be deciding issues of critical importance to rural America, and it’s essential for lawmakers to hear directly from electric co-op leaders who serve their constituents,” said Hill Thomas, NRECA’s vice president of legislative affairs.

Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., will receive the Distinguished Service Award on Monday, April 17. The senator, who will speak at the event, is a member of Carroll Electric Cooperative in Berryville and is a long-standing supporter and champion for many issues of importance to co-ops.

Other speakers on April 17 include NRECA CEO Jim Matheson, NRECA President Tony Anderson and Louis Finkel, NRECA’s senior vice president of Government Relations.

On both April 17 and 18, NRECA’s Government Relations staff will offer office hours when they will be available to answer questions from co-op leaders. The staff of NRECA’s political action committee, newly renamed as America’s Electric Cooperatives PAC, also will be there to talk about ways that leaders can advocate for their co-ops’ interests.

In addition, there will be an infrastructure hub where co-op leaders can stop by to get resources and advice on how to tap into federal funds provided by the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure law that Congress passed in 2021.

Advocacy Efforts

Co-op leaders will spend most of April 18 and 19 visiting their House members and senators on Capitol Hill with representatives of their statewide associations.

Lawmakers are attempting to craft a new Farm Bill, which would authorize funding for a variety of programs run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, including loans and grants to electric co-ops to deploy broadband in rural areas that lack high-speed internet service.

Congress is also considering legislation to overhaul the federal permitting process. Under the current environmental review system, it often takes years for co-ops to get permits to create clean energy projects or modernize their systems. Even when permits are approved, lawsuits by environmental groups and other organizations can continue to hold up projects indefinitely.

NRECA and its member co-ops are also working with Congress and the Biden administration to address supply chain disruptions, which began during the COVID-19 pandemic and are continuing to make it difficult to obtain transformers and other essential equipment.

NRECA Broadband Events

The conference will include special events exclusively for NRECA Broadband participants.

On the afternoon of Sunday, April 16, there will be two breakout sessions. The first will focus on learning how to tell your story to lawmakers on Capitol Hill. The second will provide a briefing on broadband legislative priorities.

On Tuesday morning, April 18, there will be a special broadband breakfast.

There also will be office hours during the conference with federal officials from agencies that oversee broadband programs.


The Legislative Conference will take place at the Marriott Marquis on Massachusetts Avenue in Washington, D.C. Check out the conference page to register, reserve hotel rooms and learn more about the agenda.