Last week more than 50 Iowa electric cooperative representatives flew to Washington, D.C. to participate in the 2018 NRECA Legislative Conference. Together with more than 2,000 of their fellow cooperative representatives from across the nation, Iowa managers, directors, and employees spent three days sharing the electric cooperative story in Washington.
Advocates heard speeches from high-ranking policymakers including USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue and four U.S. Senators including the Chairwoman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. They were also able to participate in breakout sessions in which NRECA staff gave policy briefings and tips on how to effectively advocate on Capitol Hill.
In addition to NRECA-sponsored activities, advocates were able to lobby all six members of the Iowa Congressional Delegation, House Agriculture Committee staff, DOE Director of Public Affairs Bob Haus, and USDA Under Secretary Bill Northey. Issues discussed include rightsizing pension premiums, Farm Bill reauthorization, protecting Iowa’s power supply, and improving rural infrastructure and broadband access.
The group was well received in every meeting, underscoring the continuing success of Iowa electric cooperatives’ advocacy efforts. Not only were advocates successful in sharing the cooperative point of view on important federal issues, but were also effective at maintaining and building relationships with Washington policymakers.