As a lifelong resident of a small town in rural Pennsylvania, Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson knows firsthand the issues facing the communities that electric cooperatives serve.

The congressman—the descendant of a long line of dairy farmers—has served for more than a decade on the House Agriculture Committee and is currently the ranking Republican on the panel. He has used his position to help advocate on behalf of co-ops.

“Congressman Thompson has been a constant champion of our rural electric cooperatives and their consumer-members,” says Frank Betley, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Rural Electric Association and Allegheny Electric Cooperative. “He has taken great interest in the well-being of our cooperative communities and the quality of life in our rural areas.

“On the issues, Rep. Thompson has been there time and again in support of cooperative causes, from urging RUS repricing for cooperatives to pushing for broadband expansion in rural areas.”

In addition to his legislative activities, “what makes GT special is that he is genuinely interested in learning about our industry issues,” Betley says.

“He wants to understand our concerns, so he always finds the time to meet with our cooperative leadership, whether in Washington, D.C., during the Legislative Conference, back home in his district, or online. Of special importance, Congressman Thompson has always taken time out to meet with our Rural Electric Youth Tour students on their visits to Washington, encouraging them to get involved in their communities and learn about the political process.”

Thompson says electric co-ops are crucial to the economic prosperity of rural communities in his district and throughout the nation.

“Cooperatives represent the best of hardworking Americans,” he says. “When local challenges are addressed in an inclusive and collaborative manner, our neighborhoods and communities are better off across the board. In rural areas especially, cooperative enterprises bring capital, expertise and vital services to often overlooked places.

“As an essential component to the health and prosperity of the communities they serve, I am grateful for the work of the rural electric cooperatives that serve Pennsylvania, and I am proud to support cooperatives throughout rural America.”

Thompson, who was first elected to Congress in 2008, represents the largest district, by land mass, in Pennsylvania. Along with his leadership role on the Agriculture Committee, he serves as a senior member of the House Education and Labor Committee.

Thompson has the distinction of having spoken on the House floor on more days than any other House member for the last several years that he has been in office. In July 2020, he reached his 1,000th day speaking on the floor of the chamber, saying that he strives to be “a strong voice” for his rural constituents.