(Left to right) ECI REC Board Directors Chris Sackett and Bill Frazier, Senator Tim Kapucian, Board President Steve Rau, and Representative Bruce Bearinger
Board President Rau (right) and Senator Michael Breitbach
Nearly 150 directors, managers, and staff members from Iowa’s electric cooperatives met with over 100 state legislators on January 13 during the Welcome Back Legislative Reception at the State Historical Building in downtown Des Moines. Also in attendance were the secretary of state and his chief of staff, Lt. Governor Reynolds, and IUB Board Member Nick Wagner. The Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives, in conjunction with the Iowa Biotechnology Association, the Iowa Institute for Cooperatives, the Iowa Communications Alliance, and the Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Stores of Iowa, hosted the annual reception. ECI REC Board members present were Steve Rau, Bill Frazier, Don Shonka, Jim Alberts, Chris Sackett, and Burt Byers.
The reception provided an opportunity to meet with recently elected and re-elected legislators to discuss issues regarding safe, reliable, and affordable energy options for all Iowans. Important issues for the rural electric cooperatives this session include:
- the inclusion of geothermal for renewable energy tax credits
- legislation encouraging utility-owned solar
- accountability for the Iowa Energy Center
- policies supporting a skilled workforce in the state
- EPA proposed rules regarding the Clean Air Act
In the coming months the Iowa General Assembly will be addressing a multitude of issues, including energy-related items central to Iowa’s rural economy. Beginning with the Welcome Back Legislative Reception, the directors, managers, and staff will again be important advocates for a balanced approach in addressing energy issues that allows for Iowa’s member-owned rural electric cooperatives to continue providing power to more than 650,000 Iowans.
Electric cooperative representatives from all parts of the state will come to the state capitol in the next couple of months, where they will be able to visit with their legislators once again. The annual REC Day on the Hill will be held on March 16, 2015, at the capitol.