Message received loud and clear

Thank you to those electric cooperative members across Illinois who over the last few months visited the Voices for Cooperative Power website and took action to send an email to their elected officials. Our collective voices made a difference and resulted in more than 40,000 emails to Governor Pritzker, Senate and House members through the Voices for Cooperative Power website – all within a few months.

This was true grassroots support and advocacy at its best, at a time when we needed it most while energy legislation was actively considered in Springfield.

Your actions helped convey electric cooperative support for a reasoned transition to lower carbon sources of electricity while maintaining grid reliability. Together we emphasized to our legislators that policy objectives must not get ahead of today’s technology, and our voices were heard.

Our goal throughout was to protect affordability for our rural electric cooperative member-consumers and the local communities they serve. Your actions helped make the final omnibus energy bill better as passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor. It provided a pathway for our diverse energy resources, protected good paying jobs, the livelihood of families, the tax base many rural schools depend upon, while adding reliability protections which reduced risk to the electric cooperative membership.

It is that grassroots support and engagement that sets co-ops apart. This is particularly fresh because throughout October electric cooperatives in Illinois joined co-ops nationwide in celebrating Cooperative Month. Whether it is an agricultural co-op, credit union, telephone cooperative or your electric co-op, they are all based on the same seven cooperative principles and depend on the engagement of their members to be successful.

For your electric cooperative, being a grassroots advocate helps tell our story and express to elected officials the importance of a particular issue in front of them that directly impacts your co-op.

As Louis Finkel, senior vice president of government relations at the National Association of Electric Cooperatives (NRECA), shared in his July column, “Speaking up on issues that impact electric co-ops sends a message to elected officials about the needs of our communities – and their constituencies. Voices for Cooperative Power gives a platform to talk about the many ways your electric co-op supports your community. Beyond delivering electricity, co-ops provide jobs, stability and economic growth – all while ensuring that energy affordability and reliability remain foundational advantages of electric co-op membership.”

If you have not signed up yet, I encourage you to visit today to get involved.

Thanks again for making your voices heard. It is valuable to know we can count on so many co-op members to advocate for safe, affordable and reliable energy. We will continue to keep you informed as we advocate for issues important to co-ops in the ever-evolving legislative landscape at federal and state levels.