Message from CEO Julius Hackett
Exercise Your Right .. to Vote
According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, patriotism is “the love for or devotion to one’s country.” Perhaps no other day of the year evokes such a sense of patriotism than Independence Day. With flags rippling in the wind; red, white and blue bunting adorning porches and store fronts; and local parades and marching bands on display, it’s easy to feel a swell of pride for our country.
Arguably, another perhaps deeper form of patriotism is active engagement in public and civic life. Involvement in your town promotes a richer community life, and ensures that institutions thrive and communities remain vibrant and inviting places to live, work and play. Besides being enjoyable, your participation in community events and activities — together with your friends, neighbors and co-workers — makes a difference. Simple things like supporting a bake sale or attending a local high school event signals to the young people in your community that you care about and support them, and that the community itself is worth sustaining.
There are also civic engagement opportunities through Tri-County Electric Cooperative (TCEC). You may recall that one of our most important cooperative principles is that of democratic participation. TCEC, like other types of co-ops, originated to serve a need that was not being met by traditional for-profit electric companies.
While providing reliable electricity is our top priority, we are exploring other needs that might not be met otherwise: access to high-speed broadband and renewable energy options, like community solar. We make decisions based on long-term thinking and ask what will benefit the communities we serve as a whole.
One of the best ways you can engage with your co-op is by casting your vote when it’s time to elect board members. These are folks just like you, from our community, who provide guidance to co- op leadership on a myriad of issues and decisions, both short term and long term.
Perhaps you haven’t voted in the past because you didn’t think you were qualified to weigh in on a particular topic,
Or maybe you simply didn’t have time to vote. But you do have an opinion on the issues that affect our community, and TCEC wants your particular perspective. Everyone has valuable experience that informs their decision-making process. Diverse perspectives benefit the whole community. You may have a different view than your neighbor, but together, those perspectives provide a more balanced view of the community. You could be bringing new information that hadn’t been previously considered. We seek more members participating in the process, because greater numbers reflect a consensus on the direction of the future and the will of the people.
You have an opportunity to exercise your right to vote for board trustees during the district meetings set to occur this July. New for 2019 is the election of a board trustee at the district meeting. This is a result of the members voting to approve a bylaw change during the 2018 Annual Meeting and replaces the old method of nominating candidates at the district meetings and then waiting until the Annual Meeting to elect them to the position of Board Trustee.
More information about 2019 district meetings and the new voting process can be found at www.tcec.com/your-co-op
Democracy is not a spectator sport; it takes active civic engagement by citizens to thrive. So be sure to exercise your right to vote — and vote at every opportunity!