Democratic Process // August 2022 CEO Column

Daniel Carlisle // President/CEO & General Counsel

The democratic process is at the heart of everything cooperatives do, and it all starts with member participation in electing your board of directors each year at our annual meeting. We call that “grassroots” efforts because you are advocating for change at the local level, at the “root” of the organization.

Cooperatives are also involved in grassroots efforts at the state and federal levels to advocate on behalf of our membership. These efforts go further than lobbying elected officials at the state and federal levels; it is also about developing relationships. Relationships with state and federal legislators and their staff are key when dealing with the legislative process.

There are many organizations that TWEC works with and relies on to support these efforts.

The Action Committee for Rural Electrification (ACRE)
ACRE is the federal Political Action Committee (PAC) of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). Founded in 1966 by the approximately 1,000 consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives of NRECA, ACRE supports candidates for the U.S. House and Senate — those in office now and running for office — who will speak for and protect the interests of electric cooperatives and their members. The goal of ACRE is to maximize your voice as you hold elected officials accountable and promote the importance of electric cooperatives across the nation.

Rural Electric Political Action Committee (REPAC)
REPAC is the state level equivalent of ACRE that helps Minnesota cooperative members combine their resources to support candidates who will speak for and protect the interests of electric cooperatives and their member.

Minnesota Rural Electric Association (MREA) Legislative Center
MREA’s Legislative Center provides information and actively engages with law and policy makers at the state and federal level regarding the legislative issues Minnesota rural electric cooperatives are facing.

TWEC takes an active role in the political process to protect both the cooperative and our members from harmful legislation and regulations, as well as to fight for the interests and promote the value of rural America.
Some important topics that affect cooperatives include RUS financing and rural development, rural broadband access, energy policy, regulatory and environmental rules, energy infrastructure, and land use—just to name a few.
There are a variety of topics that come before the state and federal legislators that directly affect our cooperative and our members. Engaging and educating our members to make decisions about who represents us in office is not only important but vital to our success. This is also a form of grassroots efforts, to educate and engage our members. This is why TWEC is hosting a Meet the Candidates event on September 8th. State and federal candidates will be invited to speak to all eligible voters about topics that affect us. I encourage you all to attend and learn about what each candidate stands for. Then take that knowledge to the voting booth.

Daniel Carlisle
President/CEO & General Counsel

*Note: we do not endorse or recommend any candidates for election.