A Message from the General Manager
During the past 12 years as Claiborne Electric’s General Manager and CEO, I have been welcomed in this community. I’m honored to now count our Co-op’s members among my friends and neighbors. I have worked for electric cooperatives for many years, in different states and regions, and I can say undoubtedly that Claiborne Electric’s members are some of the most generous people I have ever met. Time and again, our members have shown that when the cause is worthy, they stand as a community and make things better together.
One of the ways I have seen our members be better together is through their support of the Action Committee for Rural Electrification (ACRE). ACRE is the Political Action Committee set up to support the campaigns of political candidates on the state and federal levels who support electric cooperatives. ACRE works to make it easier for Washington, D.C. to hear our rural voices.
For more than three years, I’ve been telling members how ACRE can help make us better together.
Working together has always been a way of life in rural America, and that sense of community matters now more than ever. According to the latest Census, there are 320 million people in America, and 42 million of those people are rural families, like our members. Trying to picture 42 million people can seem like an insurmountable task because the number is so large, but our rural voices get lost in the crowd of 320 million. During each Census, the number of rural Americans decreases, and our voices are even harder to hear.
Being heard requires joining together. An effective way for rural Americans - specifically electric co-op members - to make our voices heard is to join and support ACRE.
In today’s political climate, especially at a time when coal-fired power generation routinely comes under attack through proposed legislation, we feel it is important to support political candidates who understand that our energy must remain safe, reliable and affordable.
I am both an advocate and a supporter of ACRE. For more three years, Claiborne Electric has offered members the opportunity to join ACRE for $1 per month. Since then, nearly 1,000 of our members have joined the initiative! That number makes such a difference when we talk to legislators. There really is strength in numbers. I am hoping that even more of our Claiborne Electric members will become ACRE supporters.
Members of electric cooperatives can join ACRE by completing a simple form and allowing the Co-op to add one dollar to their monthly bill. This opportunity is only available to residential Co-op members. Contributions are pooled, and about half are used to support election campaigns on the federal level, while about half are used to support candidates on the state level.
ACRE is a bipartisan PAC – a candidate’s political affiliation is not taken into consideration in ACRE’s procedures for making election contributions. Election donations are made solely based on the candidate’s support of electric cooperatives. All ACRE contributions go to election campaigns, with the exception of federal taxes that must be paid on the contributions (less than 1%).
At Claiborne Electric, we believe in this effort so much that 100% of our Co-op’s Staff members and Directors donate $100 per year to ACRE.
To the hundreds of members who have joined the ACRE initiative, I cannot explain how grateful I am!
The community of 42 million rural Americans represents a vast and diverse group of people that reach into every state, and nearly every district in this country. ACRE helps facilitate the efforts of that community every day. Please help us be better together by joining ACRE.
Please stop by our ACRE information booth at the Annual Membership Meeting on April 27 at the Thomas Assembly Center in Ruston!
As always, if you have questions for me, please e-mail me at Mark@our.coop. I can also be reached in the Homer office at 318.927.3504, or in the Farmerville office at 318.368.3011. Again, thank you for your membership. We appreciate you.
Mark A. Brown
General Manager & CEO
Claiborne Electric Cooperative