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Editorial: January 2019

Power. Forward.Together

Editorial BY JOSH KRAMER


Josh Kramer, executive vice president and general manager, NDAREC

With the start of a new year, we pause to reflect on what we achieved in the year just passed and set a course for success in the coming year.

Grassroots advocacy has been and continues to be a primary focal point for us. During the recently completed election cycle, NDAREC and many of our members joined with cooperatives nationwide hosting Co-ops Vote events and activities. This has been a key means of engaging and building relationships with leaders seeking public office. Through these interactions, we provide insight into how public policy decisions impact electric cooperatives and our co-op members.

The congressional passage of the 2018 Farm Bill reflects the Co-ops Vote effort. Throughout the process, cooperative leaders engaged with North Dakota’s congressional delegation, who served as conferees on the final legislation. They listened to our concerns, and they advocated and shaped legislation to address those concerns. It is clear and reassuring that our priorities for energy and rural development provisions and for preserving federal government commitments that sustain Rural Utilities Service (RUS) finance programs for cooperatives, are being advanced by those we are electing to the U.S. Congress.

At the state level, during the 2018 election campaign, our grassroots advocacy extended to formulating and communicating concerns with North Dakota Initiated Constitutional Measure No. 1. As cooperatives, we strongly support transparency, ethics and good governance practices, but remain concerned about actions that could lead to a decrease in grassroots participation. Now that this measure has become law, we intend to work with stakeholders to help shape regulations which will not result in hampering our members’ ability to educate and engage with elected leaders on issues of importance to us.

For NDAREC, our grassroots advocacy is strengthened by complementary activities designed to keep our cooperatives strong. Through North Dakota Living, your cooperative magazine, we continue to amplify key messages, such as advancing technology, electric vehicles, carbon capture and cooperative principles. Through NDAREC’s Rural Development Center, we support our cooperatives and their communities, providing economic development assistance and supporting rural North Dakota in areas such as child care, food and rural grocery services.

Your NDAREC partner also works closely with cooperatives on sustaining a strong culture of safety, so that co-op linemen and employees stay injury-free. We also provide a wide array of other workforce and board governance training for our co-ops – all designed to maintain the reliable flow of electric cooperative power to members.

So, we charge ahead into 2019 with “POWER. FORWARD. TOGETHER!” as our beacon. This will help ensure our electric cooperative efforts continue to succeed in new year and beyond.

Josh Kramer, editor-in-chief of North Dakota Living, is executive vice president and general manager of NDAREC, P.O. Box 727, Mandan, ND 58554-0727; email to jkramer@ndarec.com.