One of my favorite holiday events each year is our annual co-op lunch in Salem with our state legislators. It’s a bit of a hybrid event, a celebration of Oregon’s co-ops— electric, telecommunications, credit unions and agriculture— and a thank you for legislators who work hard for their constituents.
There is much to like about the lunch, with its festive atmosphere and incredible food, courtesy of our terrific Oregon agriculture coops. And what better end to a prime rib lunch than Tillamook ice cream—everyone’s favorite co-op.
But what I like most about the event is how conservative Republican senators and liberal Democrat representatives sit at the same table with something in common: their support of Oregon’s coops. They may agree on little else, but on this day they have united for a common purpose.
One of our great strengths as co-ops— electric or otherwise— is that we receive support from a broad ideological spectrum.
Partisanship is a fact of life. If 2017 is anything like 2016, the advent of a new Congress and a new Oregon Legislative Assembly is going to test the fabric of our republic and state like never before. In our political arenas, there will be differences, sharp debates, and winners and losers.
No matter where you sit politically, Oregon’s coops can occasionally provide a safe refuge from partisan wrangling. We’re not-for-profit, exist to serve the members that own us, and perform our objectives exceptionally well. For legislators or anyone else, there is nothing more unifying than that.
Except for perhaps Tillamook ice cream.
Happy New Year!