Rural Missouri - June 2013 - (Page 10)

S by Heather Berry hberry@ruralmissouri.coop 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 million members. 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 1984. 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 nationwide.” 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 electric cooperatives. 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 10 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 attachment issues. WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP 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. http://WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - June 2013

Rural Missouri - June 2013
Table of Contents
Comments
Columns
Back to the land
Full steam ahead
Outdoors
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
Around Missouri
Marketplace
Neighbors
Just4Kids

Rural Missouri - June 2013

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