We electrified rural America for decades and it helped make this nation strong. Now co-ops have a chance to energize their member’s sense of civic duty with the new initiative, Co-ops Vote.
This project is NOT partisan. Rather, it is about co-ops exerting leadership in their communities by encouraging broad participation in our democracy. It is a fundamental and practical way in an election year that co-ops can demonstrate an aspect of the cooperative principle of concern for community.
Co-ops Vote is designed to organize voter registration and drive voter education. NRECA Interim CEO, Jeffrey Connor, announced the new NRECA i initiative at the Annual Meeting. Connor said it will help jump-start local conversations about what matters. Additionally, it shows elected leaders and those running for offices that cooperatives are effective players in the election process.
The website, vote.coop, contains numerous resources for co-ops to deploy in organized voter registration drives or to start conversations. The resources include a “how-to” manual that describes
how to manage a get-out-the-vote program and downloadable templates for buttons and bumper stickers.
The site also includes voter registration forms, candidate information and election deadlines that are state-specific.
Rural Power Takes Co-op Issues Directly to the Candidates
As presidential hopefuls take their campaigns to primary elections across the states, many co-op members are using their home-court advantage to take their concerns and issues directly to the candidates. A non-partisan election year initiative started in 2008 by the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives is now taking hold across the country.
It’s called the Rural Power program. Already, about 200 member-consumers in key presidential nominating states, including Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, are engaging presidential candidates from both parties in discussions about the chief concern of electric co-ops: providing safe, affordable and reliable power in rural America. Rural Power groups are immediately identifiable to candidates because they wear distinctive green t-shirts emblazoned with the Rural Power logo.
Read an RE Magazine about how this program is working. Click here.
See an ECT.coop article about Rural Power. Click here.
Watch a video that explains Rural Power and catch a glimpse of some of the candidates. Click here.
The Co-op Rural Power website offers many resources for co-ops who want to participate. Click here.