At the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives’ annual meeting in Springfield on Aug. 1, State Representative Jerry Costello II (D-Smithton, 116th District) received the 2014 Illinois Electric Cooperatives Public Service Award. Presenting the award to Rep. Costello (right), who is a Monroe County Electric Co-Operative member, is Monroe County Electric Board Chairman Larry Kraft (left).
“This award is made in recognition of Rep. Costello’s dedicated public service to all citizens of the state of Illinois and for outstanding contributions to the rural electrification program,” said Kraft.
Rep. Costello is a supporter of Illinois electric cooperatives, and their rural member-owners, on a wide variety of issues. As Vice-Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, he has been a strong advocate of issues impacting rural Illinois. For example, last year he introduced and sponsored electric cooperative-supported legislation allowing non-profit cooperatives to be formed to own and operate anaerobic digesters. Anaerobic digesters can turn waste from livestock operations into methane gas that can in turn be used to generate electricity. Forming cooperatives would help make this form of renewable energy more economically viable.
“Representative Costello doesn’t hesitate to meet with us when we need to discuss an important piece of legislation, and he always makes time to meet with the students representing electric cooperatives when they are in Springfield during Co-op Youth Day at the Capitol,” said Alan Wattles, president/CEO of Monroe County Electric Co-Operative in Waterloo.
Wattles pointed out that Rep. Costello is following in the footsteps of his father, former Congressman Jerry Costello, in receiving the electric co-op’s public service award. “As a member of our cooperative he understands and is supportive of the cooperative business model. We appreciate his service, his support and his friendship.”
Rep. Costello said, “I am honored to receive this award. One of the reasons that supporting rural electric cooperatives and their member-owners is so easy for me, is that I am a member of one. I enjoy representing downstate Illinois and being a champion for the people of rural Illinois.”