Leaders from the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives, Jo-Carroll Energy and Spoon River Electric Cooperative presented U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-East Moline, 17th Congressional District) with the 2015 Illinois Electric Cooperatives’ Public Service Award. The award was made in recognition of her dedicated public service to all citizens of the state of Illinois and for outstanding contributions to the rural electrification program.
Bustos has been a strong advocate for Illinois electric cooperatives and their rural member-owners on a wide variety of rural issues, including: supporting the RUS electric loan program, supporting legislation which allows the continued use of large water heaters in demand response peak shaving programs, and sponsoring legislation to bring fairness to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster assistance program.
“Representative Bustos’ support of issues important to not-for-profit electric cooperatives, and our rural member-owners, has been greatly appreciated,” said Michael Hastings, President and CEO of Jo-Carroll Energy in Elizabeth. “We appreciate her championing issues important to rural Illinois and electric cooperatives. Her district serves a wide swath of electric cooperative territory including not only Jo-Carroll Energy’s territory but areas served by Corn Belt Energy, McDonough Power Cooperative, Rock Energy, Spoon River Electric Cooperative, Menard Electric Cooperative and Western Illinois Electrical Coop.”
Bustos has a family history of supporting electric cooperatives. Her concern for rural issues and rural electric cooperatives started with lessons from her father Gene Callahan, who was chief of staff for Illinois Sen. Paul Simon, and her grandfather Joe Callahan. Her grandfather was an Illinois state representative and instrumental in passing state legislation that helped rural electric cooperatives survive “cherry picking” attacks by investor owned utilities when the cooperatives were just beginning to grow.
Bustos was elected to Congress in November 2012 and currently serves on the House Agriculture Committee and the Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure.