Rural Missouri - June 2013 - (Page 10)
by Heather Berry
he’s charming, unassuming
and approachable — just a few
of the features to admire about
Jo Ann Emerson, the new CEO
of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association in Washington, D.C.
These traits were on display April
29-May 1 when she led a grassroots
rally of 2,500 electric cooperative leaders who came to Washington, D.C.,
for the NRECA Legislative Conference.
NRECA is the organization that
represents more than 900 electric
cooperatives in 47 states that serve 42
A nine-term congresswoman from
Missouri, Jo Ann left her elected position in February to take the mantle
from NRECA CEO Glenn English.
She’s only the ﬁfth leader since the
organization’s founding in 1942 and
the ﬁrst woman. She’s also the second from Missouri. Maryville’s Bob
Partridge served as CEO from 1968 to
Staff from various Missouri electric
co-ops have met with Jo Ann on several occasions during previous legislative trips when cooperatives from her
district would visit with her in Washington, D.C., about topics near and
dear to rural people. Whether she was
at home representing her southeast
Missouri district, or in her Capitol Hill
ofﬁce, she was always on a mission to
“change lives and make a difference,”
and her recent move to Washington
hasn’t changed her goal one bit.
“Jo Ann has always been an ardent
supporter of electric cooperatives and
the rural way of life in Missouri, ﬁghting for the best interests of those both
in her district and across the nation,”
says Association of Missouri Electric
Cooperatives CEO Barry Hart. “Electricity is affordable and reliable in
Missouri as a result of her leadership
on our behalf in the nation’s capital.
She brings that same level of commitment and dedication to her new
position at NRECA, championing the
cooperative difference for members
During this year’s NRECA Legislative Conference, co-op managers,
directors and staff from across the
United States ﬂooded the nation’s capital during the gathering to hear from
the organization’s new leader and to
take their issues to key congressional
staff on Capitol Hill. Fifty-one of the
attendees represented Missouri’s rural
Only eight weeks into her position, Jo Ann shared her thoughts on
continuing to build relationships with
congressional members, as well as topics that are considered critical to what
she likes to call “Co-op Nation.” One
way she did this was through a series
of small town-hall-style sessions.
The discussions were capped at
150 people for a more comfortable
setting — and Jo Ann kept it up close
and personal. She walked through
the crowd answering, as well as asking, questions. If she didn’t know the
answer, she’d admit it, but committed
to ﬁnding out the answer.
When it came time to discuss carbon and the possibility of climate
change legislation, Jo Ann gently
warned, “Beware those who have all
New NRECA CEO Jo Ann Emerson introduced herself to electric cooperative managers, staff and directors in a series of small townhall-style meetings during the 2013 National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C.
Full Steam Ahead
Co-op Nation gets to know new CEO Jo Ann Emerson
through town-hall meetings at Legislative Conference
Barry Hart, CEO of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives, visits with U.S. Sen.
Roy Blunt and NRECA CEO Jo Ann Emerson before they speak to attendees.
the answers before the facts are in.
“I don’t believe with the current
makeup of the U.S. House and Senate
that we will be getting any liberalsounding legislation through,” she
added during one town-hall meeting.
The greatest threat is regulation,
she adds. “We have a great relationship with the staff at the Environmental Protection Agency, and we are trying to emphasize that common-sense
science is important.”
During the conference, NRECA
staffers updated attendees on the
Rural Utilities Service (RUS) loan program. They also discussed the best
way to tackle regulation of coal ash.
Other updates included new efﬁciency
standards set by the U.S. Department
of Energy that could sideline large
electric water heaters that co-ops
use as storage to manage peak load
and save consumers money and pole
Armed with the information, those
attending the conference visited congressional staff and thanked them
for all the support they offer electric
cooperatives. They also provided an
update on the topics of concern coming down the pike.
Electric co-ops don’t often ask for
much from members of Congress, but
when they do broach a topic, Congress seems to listen. Electric co-ops
are known for not crying wolf and for
coming armed with information that
matters and is easy to understand.
No matter what brings co-op members to Washington, NRECA’s enthusiastic new leader is ready to listen and
help electric co-ops everywhere.
“Jo Ann is a breath of fresh air,”
says Don McQuitty, CEO of N.W.
Electric Power Co-op in Cameron.
“She shares the passion we have for
making life better in rural America.
We’re pleased to have her at the
helm.” Don was honored to serve on
NRECA’s national CEO search committee, where the new CEO received a
unanimous vote after the group sifted
through hundreds of candidates.
It’s early in the game, but nothing
seems too daunting a task for Jo Ann.
She’s rolled up her sleeves and is ready
to take on whatever comes.
Tenacious. Caring. Welcoming.
Missouri’s electric cooperatives have
experienced Jo Ann’s support for years
— and now she’s going to show the
Co-op Nation what she can do for
everyone in the electric co-op family.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - June 2013
Rural Missouri - June 2013
Table of Contents
Back to the land
Full steam ahead
Out of the Way Eats
Where shall I thee wed?
Missouri Snapshots contest
Hearth and Home
Missouri’s forgotten war
Plant during summer’s sizzle
Rural Missouri - June 2013