Counting your blessings

I consider myself very blessed to have been born and raised on a family farm in south-central Illinois. My parents made sure my upbringing emphasized hard work, the value of a dollar, community involvement and faith in God. In all honesty, there were many times as a boy and young man when I wished for […]

Survival requires an adequate food supply

“Civilization as it is known today could not have evolved, nor can it survive, without an adequate food supply. Without fertilizer, forget it.” These are the words of Dr. Norman Borlaug, known as the father of the “green revolution” for ­developing disease resistant wheat varieties that saved millions from starvation. Dr. Borlaug is only one of seven […]

Shaping enthusiasm for public service

I can clearly remember the first time that I visited the Lincoln Memorial, and how the marble seemed to soften the sting of the sweltering heat. Monuments, and the history they ­represent, can make an indelible impression on an individual. While almost twenty years have passed since I participated in the Association of Illinois Electric […]

The importance of being prudent

The word “prudent” sounds a bit old fashioned and stodgy. It’s defined as being wise in the handling of practical matters, or as exercising good judgment or common sense. The phrase “prudent utility ­practice” is a term of art in our industry. It generally refers to the actions a ­utility is expected to make, as […]

Learning from our history

If you’re a teenager, seventy-five years seems like an eternity. If you’re middle-aged you realize it’s not so long after all. And if you’re a senior, you’re wondering where did all that time go? As we look at the rural electric program many of our co-ops are just now celebrating a milestone of 75 years […]

Confidence in institutions at record lows

The last several years have seen ­erosion in the confidence Americans have in many of our ­institutions. According to Gallup’s annual “Confidence in Institutions” survey released in June, Americans are giving increasingly low marks to ­institutions such as public schools, big business, the media, banks and ­government. Out of 16 institutions tested only the military, […]

A time for co-ops

Cooperative businesses have ­traditionally been formed by necessity. Private enterprise was not eager to enter marginal ventures and/or remote locations, so groups formed to supply needed goods and services. Rooted in cultural ties of history and location, and focused on the common goals of similar patrons, cooperative efforts have often been the backbone of support […]

Coal important to national energy strategy

As most of you know, I did not run for re-election and will end my more than 24-year career in Congress this January. It has been a tremendous honor to serve the people of southwestern and southern Illinois. I have particularly enjoyed my close working relationship with the electric co-ops, and greatly appreciate the time […]

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 […]

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 […]