America’s Electric Co-ops: A Bridge to Rural America for the New Administration

ARLINGTON, Va. — America’s electric cooperatives today pledged to work with the Trump administration to improve the quality of life for rural Americans.

“For decades, electric co-ops have worked to power and empower rural communities by keeping the lights on and serving as engines of economic development,” said Jim Matheson, CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). “As private, consumer-owned businesses, we have a keen sense of what matters most to rural communities. We encourage the new administration to partner with us to expand economic opportunities for those who call rural America home.”

A number of issues identified as priorities by then-candidate Trump—job creation, economic expansion, infrastructure development and energy policy—are critically important to electric co-ops and rural America, as well.

“Electric co-ops are essential to the economic well-being of the communities they serve, providing good jobs, keeping the lights on, and helping to create a positive environment for families, farms and businesses to thrive,” Matheson said. “And we’ve been in the infrastructure development business from the very start, building and modernizing the rural electric grid and, more recently, working to improve access to high-speed Internet service.”

Electric co-ops have worked effectively with the federal government since creation of the Rural Electrification Administration in 1935 to support cooperative efforts to bring electricity to rural areas not served by for-profit utilities. Since then, co-ops have become major economic drivers in their communities, working with local businesses, developers, civic organizations and government groups to tailor economic and community development activities to meet local needs.

“Co-ops can provide invaluable insight into rural communities, because we helped build them from the ground up,” Matheson said. “We congratulate President Trump on his Inauguration and look forward to working with the new administration to advance our common goals and improve the lives of every rural American.”

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national service organization that represents the nation’s more than 900 private, not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives, which provide service to 42 million people in 47 states.