Missouri Capitol Jan. 30-31 for the annual State Legislative Conference hosted by the MO Electric Co-ops.
8:30AM April 14, 2023
Around 150 electric cooperative directors, staff and grassroots advocates, including SEMO Electric Cooperative's board and staff, descended on the Missouri Capitol Jan. 30-31 for the annual State Legislative Conference hosted by the MO Electric Co-ops. The event gives Missouri’s electric cooperatives an opportunity to meet one on one with elected officials to help them understand the issues that affect our goal of supplying reliable and affordable electricity to members.
Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe, himself a member of Gascosage Electric Cooperative, was one of the elected officials to address the group. “I just want to tell you that anytime you can meet with the electric cooperatives, it's like meeting with the heart of Missouri, no matter which corner of the state you're in,” he said. “I can say you have the utmost respect from lawmakers and that's not a rural, urban, Democrat or Republican thing. I'm just telling you we know that you changed people's lives a century ago, and you're doing it again now, as some of you deploy fiber across the state.”
During the conference those gathered also heard from Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey, who praised the electric cooperatives for their work and outlined his goals as attorney general. “I know how important this organization is and what it does for the people of the state of Missouri. I don’t know what I would do without good energy at an affordable price in rural Missouri. That is critical to the people that I know and love. This organization is absolutely essential and a critical piece of our infrastructure in Missouri,” he said.
They also heard from BJ Tanksley, who heads the Missouri Office of Broadband Development. He reported that $260 million in grants to extend broadband to unserved Missourians was awarded, with $91 million of that earmarked for electric co-op projects in rural areas.
He encouraged the cooperatives to apply for the next round of funding, with a goal of extending high-speed internet service to all Missourians. “The true goal of this next opportunity is connecting all Missourians and we want to work with you all to do just that,” he said.
The issues they shared with the legislators included grid reliability, rural broadband deployment, sales tax exemptions for some electric distribution and transmission costs and electric cooperative governance.
Thank you Senator Holly Rehder, Senator Jason Bean, Missouri State Representative Jamie Burger, Missouri State Representative John Voss, Representative Barry Hovis, Representative Donnie Brown, Missouri Lieutenant Governor Mike Kehoe, and Attorney General Attorney General Andrew Bailey for your time to discuss important issues for our members and GoSEMO Fiber subscribers!