There will be plenty to talk about. That is my message to the scores of electric cooperative leaders who will descend upon Salem this month for ORECA’s Legislative Day.
Electric co-op managers, directors and employees will travel from the Oregon Coast, high desert, Columbia Gorge and everything in between to meet with their representatives and senators on key legislative proposals.
Most notable is HB 2020—a bill designed to create a cap-and-trade program to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. The bill has been the talk of the session. Two of the key players around HB 2020—Reps. Karin Power and David Brock Smith—are the subject of our feature story this month. But there are other issues to discuss as well, including legislation that addresses manufactured housing and broadband.
It’s the most important day of the session and will help hone our lobbying skills for our next big adventure: the spring National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Legislative Conference in that other capital, Washington, D.C.
In the meantime, we will see you in the Oregon Capitol on Wednesday, March 20. We will try not to overstay our welcome, but there is, after all, plenty to talk about.
Remembering a Legendary Leader
I was sad to hear of the death of Wally Rustad, a legendary electric cooperative leader and longtime manager of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Government Relations team.
I vividly recall the day Wally called me and offered me a job as a lobbyist for NRECA. At the time, I was agonizing whether to leave my job on Capitol Hill to work for electric cooperatives. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made, and I am eternally grateful to Wally for his faith in me. He was always the first person in the office and supported his lobbying team to the hilt. I was honored to know him.
Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.