Commentary

NRECA CEO Jim Mattheson

There is no time like now

This is an excerpt from the speech given by NRECA CEO Jim Matheson at the NRECA 75th Annual Meeting. It’s said that wisdom has a thousand fathers, and I‘ve had many ­teachers throughout the co-op ­community. The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) is special because we ­benefit first and foremost from a membership that […]

Youth Leadership Council Representative Sophie Marcolla

Youth Leadership Counsel delegate says look within and find your greatness

In the United States, we have encountered many tragedies in the past several years including 9-11, church and school shootings, acts of terror at the Boston Marathon and the Orlando nightclub, storms, flooding, and hurricanes in the south and along our coastlines, and ­violence against police officers in Texas. We have witnessed both the good […]

Fixing Illinois’ worst-in-the-nation formula for school funding

Online ­crowdfunding websites are more than ­simple fund-raising tools. They are story-telling sites. Among the tales you’ll find there are those of Illinois teachers who work in school districts that can barely afford to provide the basics for their classrooms, let alone such frivolities as tablet computers, money for music or science education, flexible seating […]

Manufacturing a middle class in Illinois once again

Illinois manufacturers are ­leaders in technology and innovation with nearly 20,000 companies and facilities that call this state home. Industry-leading advancements from farm machinery to fighter plane ­controls have resulted in an industry of ­forward-thinking ­companies that contribute the single largest share – 12.4 percent – of the Gross State Product and employ approximately 565,000 […]

You can help improve Illinois wildlife habitat

Habitat enhancement can be as simple or as complex as you want to make it and is something that rural landowners, farmers and urban landowners can all take part in. The overwhelming part can be finding a good place to start, but luckily there is a plethora of programs and partners to support you. Technical […]

How powerful partnerships can tackle tough problems

In times when resources are scare, partnerships are the key to ­helping us achieve shared goals. During the recent Illinois state budget impasse, electric cooperatives played a critical role in ­helping the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) keep our Illinois State Parks open. You understood the ­economic value that parks bring to neigh­boring ­communities, […]

Power, politics, progress and the cooperative way

I grew up on a modest farm in deep southern Illinois with six ­siblings. I remember when I was five and a group of men came to set a meter pole. I remember that day in 1941 because those men ­threatened to throw me in the hole they were ­digging because I was being a nuisance. It […]

For our farms, freedom, food and jobs

In 2005, my wife Kristen and I were living in Las Vegas, Nev., and I was working for the U.S. Department of Justice as a federal prosecutor. We were faced with the decision of where we wanted to raise our three young sons. The choice between ­central Illinois and Las Vegas was very easy. The next […]

Geothermal deserves tax credit parity

There’s a saying in the lobbying world: Be Persistent, Be Seen and Be Consistent. The Geothermal Exchange Organization (GEO) recently returned to the capitol for the sixth time this year. GEO board members along with six members of our two advocacy teams ascended Capitol Hill in early June for 29 meetings with members of Congress. […]

Setting the record straight on pork production

As a fifth generation family farmer and proud owner of a CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation), I want to set the record straight on the often distorted views of my farm and other farms like mine. The term “CAFO” is often used to scare people into believing that these farms are bad. CAFO is a […]