No one can say electric cooperative leaders don’t have heart.

We are only a few weeks removed from ORECA’s Legislative Day in Salem, and I want to take this opportunity to thank co-op leaders and legislators for a memorable two days. I am always impressed with the dedication of the Oregon co-op leaders who participate in this important event.

It is not just about traveling hundreds of miles to meet with their legislators. One Oregon co-op leader traveled to Salem even though, only days before, he was told he has a serious heart condition that required two stents to be placed near his heart. Now that’s dedication.

I also want to thank members of the Oregon Legislature for being so generous with their time. Rep. Caddy McKeown, who graces our cover this month, helped kick off our Legislative Day activities with a fascinating overview of a potential transportation package.

Several lawmakers—including Reps. Greg Smith, Mark Johnson, Debbie Boone and David Brock Smith—made gracious comments from the House floor about their local electric cooperatives.

My main thank you, however, goes to all of the legislators who pledged to help us convince the state of Oregon to get out of the courtroom and start collaborating with other federal agencies, states and tribes who have pledged to work together on operation of the Columbia River system.

Legislators heard stories about how Oregon’s troubling and flawed proposal to spill more water over the dams will hurt Oregon’s fragile economy and harm our effort to counter global warming.

We hope this is the beginning of a new relationship with Gov. Kate Brown and the state of Oregon. This collaboration would not only benefit fish, it would show something that has been missing during years and years of litigation. It would show some heart for the people of rural Oregon.