Electric co-op leaders traveled to Salem amidst a flurry of legislative action. They were also honored for their work restoring power after devastating winter storms.

Businessmen and politicians talking
Consumers Power Inc. CEO Roman Gillen, center, and CPI director Russ Sapp talk to Rep. Shelly Boshart Davis outside the House Chamber.
Photos by Lynn Howlett
Oregon electric cooperative leaders
Oregon electric cooperative leaders assemble on
the Capitol steps during ORECA Legislative Day.

More than 60 Oregon electric cooperative leaders descended upon the state Capitol in March, coming at a time when the Legislature was embroiled in a spirited debate on cap-and-trade proposal (HB 2020).

But it was the electric co-ops’ response to the storms in Lane and Douglas counties that captured the attention of the Oregon Legislative Assembly. Crews had worked tirelessly to restore electricity to areas devastated by the storms.

In an impassioned floor speech before the House of Representatives, Rep. Gary Leif (R-Roseburg) introduced the leaders from Douglas Electric Cooperative sitting in the gallery.

“I want to personally give thanks to the linemen of Douglas Electric, the county and other companies that helped restore services to the good citizens of southern Oregon,” Leif said.

Rep. Sherrie Sprenger (R-Scio) also recognized the electric co-op leaders who made the trip to the Salem.

“These are co-ops who provide power to some of the most remote and rural territory in the state,” she said.

Politician meets with co-op leaders
Rep. Daniel Bonham meets with co-op leaders from his district on cap-and-trade legislation. From left are Roy Carlson, Dave Markham, Bonham, Jeff Davis and Traci Brock.

Outside the House chamber, electric co-op leaders met with their elected officials and discussed amendments to HB 2020 that would improve the bill for Oregon’s electric cooperatives.

The Legislative Day events included a compelling keynote speech from Rep. Daniel Bonham (R-The Dalles) who not only discussed his work in the Legislature but his journey from a small businessman to the halls of the state Capitol.

Oregon Rural Electric Cooperative Association Executive Director Ted Case said Legislative Day is an integral part of the association’s advocacy effort.

“These co-op leaders are natural lobbyists,” he said. “They know how to make an impact.”

Advocacy in Action

Scenes from electric cooperative leaders’ journey to Salem in March

Leaders from Umatilla Electric Cooperative
Leaders from Umatilla Electric Cooperative meet with Sen. Bill Hansell, second from right.
Photo by Jeff Beaman
Hood River Electric Co-op leaders
Hood River Electric Co-op leaders met with Rep. Anna Williams. From left, Hood River directors Doug Mahurin and Roger Nelson, Williams and Hood River Manager Libby Calnon.
Photo by Jeff Beaman
Legislature meeting
From left, Douglas Electric Cooperative Manager Keith Brooks and directors Shirley Cairns and Robert Poage are recognized by the
Legislature for their leadership during the winter storms.
Photo by Lynn Howlett
Rep. Greg Smith meets with Oregon co-op leaders
Rep. Greg Smith meets with Oregon co-op leaders outside the House chamber.
Photo by Jeff Beaman