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Commentary

Serving rural issues

This coming January will mark 18 years that I have served in the General Assembly on behalf of the residents of south central and southeastern Illinois. During that time, our region has progressed and at the same time experienced more than its share of hardship thanks to the Great Recession, several severe storms and this year’s […]

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One voice, one vote

Last month’s magazine had a ­feature that emphasized ­cooperatives. Cooperatives are international and in some countries they play a dominant role in business and industry. That’s why we were pleased when the United Nations recognized this year as the International Year of the Cooperative. The cooperative business model is governed by seven cooperative principles and […]

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Historically low energy prices can’t last

To introduce myself, for the past several years I served as Director of the Illinois Power Agency (IPA). The IPA is the state agency created in 2007 by the Illinois General Assembly to purchase wholesale power for certain customers of Ameren and ComEd, the state’s investor-owned electric utilities. In October 2011, I started a consulting service […]

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A new generation of coal technology

As an Illinoisan, our state’s most abundant source of energy may be right under your feet. With the United States of America having greater than 25 percent of the world’s coal reserves, the state of Illinois’ underground geography is 65 percent coal, representing 38 million metric tons. The energy from Illinois’ coal supply is more […]

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Here comes the sun

Passersby on I-55, which runs right alongside the office of the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives on Springfield’s far south side, might catch a glimpse of something new … a shiny, new solar photovoltaic system. The AIEC just installed a pole-mounted, solar PV system that will produce electricity to help power our 20,000 square foot […]

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Touchstone Energy® Cooperatives

A cooperative exists solely for the benefit of its members and the community it serves; not to make money for corporate stockholders. Your cooperative takes this responsibility seriously, and every other year the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives (AIEC) mails thousands of surveys on behalf of all 25 Illinois distribution co-ops. Responses from these surveys […]

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New Ag Director on a mission

As a former mayor and legislator who represented both rural and urban parts of east central Illinois that depend upon a robust agricultural economy, I’ve always understood that Illinois is an agrarian state.  So, when Governor Quinn appointed me as director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture, I was humbled by the opportunity to serve […]

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Vote in 2012

We’ve just come out of the spring primary election season and there are two things that are very obvious. Following the census, redistricting has dramatically changed state and Congressional legislative districts, which means there are new candidates on your ballot that you really don’t know. Secondly, fewer people are exercising their right to vote. Every […]

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Keeping it local and reliable

There are many things that we depend on in our daily lives but take for granted without realizing their true value and importance. One such thing is the energy source for all of our electrical needs. When we flip on the light switch we expect — and take for granted — that the light will […]

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