Kansas legislators and local officials met with Victory Electric co-ops as part of the Co-ops Vote program recently.

According to Victory Electric, Co-ops Vote is a nonpartisan campaign focused on boosting voter turnout in areas served by cooperatives and educating voters and policymakers on issues important to rural Kansans.

Topics of discussion during the session were related to affordable and reliable delivery of electricity in rural areas.

"Working in collaboration with our statewide organization and other local cooperatives, the Co-ops Vote initiative helps educate and engage candidates and voters on important issues like expanding and ensuring continued access to reliable electricity, promoting the work of cooperatives within the communities they serve, and other rural economic development issues," said Victory Electric CEO Shane Laws.

Among those taking part in the campaign was Kansas District 119 Rep. Brad Ralph; Kansas Electrical Power Cooperative director of member services, government affairs and business development Phil Wages; Kansas Electric Cooperatives vice president of government relations and legal counsel Leslie Kaufman; Kansas Electric Cooperatives director of government relations Tara Mays and the management team and board of trustees of Victory Electric.

Kansas Electric Cooperatives focused its discussion on issues that included lack of access to high-speed, reliable broadband; renewable generation; retail wheeling; transmission and generation build out; and utility ratemaking for nonprofit electric co-ops.

According to the KEC, the economic impact electric co-ops have on their communities and the United States supported nearly 612,000 American jobs and contributed $440 billion in U.S. gross domestic product between 2013 and 2017, or $88 billion annually.

Electric cooperatives generated $22.5 billion in federal, state and local taxes in 2017 alone.

"Events like Co-ops Vote are particularly important for rural legislators because it allows us to return and engage with those in our communities," Ralph said. "The best thing we can do to help address rural Kansas issues is to get the people who care involved, because it really does make a difference."

With Kansas electric cooperatives committed to providing affordable and reliable electricity to its consumer-members and the communities they serve, they become a partner in economic development and other activities that improve the lives of their members in the communities they serve.

According to Victory Electric, KEC and its member electric cooperatives will continue dialogue with Kansas policymakers through future Co-ops Vote activities for the benefit of the consumer-members they serve.


To contact the writer, email vmarshall@dodgeglobe.com.