Co-ops Vote Gets Attention at Debate

As the vice presidential contenders readied for their only debate in the 2016 election, Co-ops Vote was on location, informing potential voters of issues impacting their electric co-ops and why they must get to the polls in November.

Co-ops Vote truck rolls through Farmville, Va., home to the only vice presidential debate for the 2016 election. (Photo By: Denny Gainer)

Co-ops Vote truck rolls through Farmville, Va., home to the only vice presidential debate for the 2016 election. (Photo By: Denny Gainer)

The Co-ops Vote truck rolled through Farmville, Virginia, as staff from the statewide association, Southside Electric Cooperative, and NRECA set up camp across from Longwood University, where Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican Mike Pence squared off Oct. 4.

In addition to free hot dogs and red Co-ops Vote T-shirts, the more than 300 people who stopped by got a sense of how important their vote is.

"They all wanted to know why we were there, and what we were supporting. Our answer was simple: Encourage co-op members to vote," said Andrew Vehorn, legislative affairs director at the Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives headquartered in Glen Allen, Virginia.

"We're here to raise awareness in the decline in voter turnout in co-op territories, and to encourage and remind folks to vote."

Potential voters get T-shirts at Co-ops Vote tent outside Longwood University, where the vice presidential debate was held. (Photo By: Denny Gainer)

Potential voters get T-shirts at Co-ops Vote tent outside Longwood University, where the vice presidential debate was held. (Photo By: Denny Gainer)

Vehorn estimated that 60 percent of those visiting the Co-ops Vote tent were co-op members. Some belonged to the local co-ops while many Longwood students remain members of co-ops back home. 

Rep. Robert Hurt, R-Va., and several members of the Virginia General Assembly were also among those who paid a visit.

"We wanted to raise awareness of co-ops to elected officials and community leaders in the area," said Vehorn.

"The political power of the co-ops comes from strength in numbers. Our members have to vote to have that strength. We don't advocate who they should vote for, just that they exercise their right to vote."

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