Rep. David Scott is the first African American chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, and his constituents say he has used that position and his two decades in Congress to help strengthen rural communities and the electric cooperatives that serve them.

“Congressman Scott has never forgotten his roots and continues to be that servant leader that we all want in our member of Congress.”

The Georgia Democrat was born in 1945 in South Carolina “during the days of segregation and the hardships of those on whose shoulders I now stand,” Scott said when he became chairman in January. “And I will use this critical opportunity to … advance our priorities for trade, disaster aid, climate change, sustainable agriculture, SNAP [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program], crop insurance, small family farms, specialty crops and rural broadband.”

Dennis Chastain, president and CEO of Georgia Electric Membership Corp., says the state’s co-ops are grateful for Scott’s leadership.

“Congressman Scott plays a critical role in ensuring that the citizens of rural America are afforded the same opportunities as those living elsewhere,” Chastain says. “During his time in the House, electric co-ops have worked closely with Congressman Scott on a variety of issues affecting EMCs and their members, from energy issues to expanding broadband to rural development.”

The congressman has helped lead annual efforts to increase funding for the Rural Utilities Service Electric Loan Program. Scott has also been a champion for co-op efforts in Georgia and throughout the nation to bring broadband to rural communities that have little or no access to high-speed internet service.

Chastain says Scott helped pass a 2018 budget provision that allowed Oglethorpe Power Corp. in Tucker, Georgia, to receive tax credits for the emission-free nuclear energy that will be generated at Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4 when they are completed.

“This tax credit will significantly reduce the cost of energy at this generation facility, and that savings will be passed directly from Oglethorpe to the EMCs and ultimately to the residential and commercial EMC member-consumers across Georgia,” Chastain says.

Scott says electric co-ops are essential to the rural communities he serves.

“From delivering electricity to communities to helping our rural residents get connected to broadband, electric cooperatives have been there for decades ensuring no one is left behind,” Scott says. “And, because they are built by the communities they serve, electric cooperatives understand the needs of those communities better than anyone else. I am proud to support these energy providers who are putting people first and providing an important service for our small businesses, schools, farms and our rural communities.”