Up Front

Credit: Getty Images

Gratitude is its own gift

This has been a year of unexpected changes, unwelcome developments, and unforeseen adaptations. Like the 10 months that preceded it, November will likely bring more surprises. Sometime this month, we will likely know the results of state and national elections.

Despite these trials and tribulations, we are surrounded by so much to be grateful for as we look ahead. Our democratic system is tried and true — representative democracy ultimately works. Hardship and challenge brought neighbors together nearly 90 years ago to form our electric cooperatives, bringing light and power to rural America during the depths of the Great Depression. The “can-do” attitude of people and small businesses in our communities are helping us find new and often better ways to overcome the challenges of the day.

Hand holding a light bulb

It's not magic

It’s safe to say that we are not surprised when we flip the switch and our lights come on. We are surprised, disappointed — even angry — if they don’t. California recently went through an unusual once-in-a-decade heat wave.

The event followed a disaster last year in which power to millions of consumers was shut off because of the threat of wildfires in areas of the state where the grid was poorly maintained or where trees had not been cleared away from high-voltage power lines. The recent electricity blackouts in California are a prime example of getting what we vote for. The Golden State has adopted policies that have forced power providers to close fossil and nuclear power plants, while relying on intermittent renewable resources supplemented by imported power from neighboring states.

I voted sticker

Don't veto your vote

Every election is determined by the people who show up.” It’s a platitude that Americans dust off every four years as we prepare to go to the ballot box either to cast a vote for change or to stay the course. Pundits traditionally delight in telling us that this is the most important election in the history of the democratic process. In reality, every election is an essential exercise of democracy that allows our voices to be heard through the ballot we cast.

Man working at Cardinal Power Plant


Most of us are returning to nearly normal following months of lockdown. I’m thankful that Ohio has seen less severe health impacts than many parts of the country, but we’ve all seen tragic loss of life, a painful economic shutdown, and strained relations in urban communities across the country. This has been a difficult year for many.

I’m pleased to acknowledge with gratitude the many essential workers, who, through all of the chaos of the past few months, have continued to work every day to assure that we have the essentials of modern life.

Thank you graphic

Panic panacea

The COVID-19 pandemic has dominated the global conversation over the past several months. Moreover, it’s dictated our personal and professional lives. In an effort to keep us as safe as possible from an invisible invader and a relentless enemy, government directives have been ever-evolving. The crisis has taken an unthinkable emotional and financial toll. Worst of all, it’s stolen lives and livelihoods. We’ll be unraveling the repercussions for years.

Lineworker on pole

New normal

As I write to you in early April, it’s become increasingly difficult to imagine what the next few weeks will bring. I hope that this issue of Ohio Cooperative Living finds you safe and healthy and provides a pleasant diversion to your socially distanced lives.

linemen on a wire


If you’ve read this magazine for long enough, you get the idea that we respect, even admire, the people whose job it is to go out every day and keep our lights on. The lineworkers who represent each of the 24 electric cooperatives in our state are the first responders of the cooperative world. They are a dedicated, self-sacrificing bunch who do not flinch when the call goes out — any time of day, any season of the year.

Lineworker with Guatemalan children

Las luces!

Ohio electric cooperatives have a long history of bringing light to areas where it’s never before been available. In the 1930s, that meant neighbors helping neighbors bring electricity to the farms and homes in those rural parts of the state that for-profit utilities ignored. That spirit has, in more recent times, lit the way for us to carry the tradition beyond our borders. 

Powerlines in sunlight

Taking action

More than we like, the will and whims of government affect your electric cooperative’s costs and operational decisions. Federal and state elected officials and their appointed regulators set laws and rules that govern a range of issues, including regional electric markets, grid access, environmental impacts, employment laws, and taxes and fees, all of which affect the cost and reliability of your electric service. Government relations and advocacy are an essential part of the job of managing an electric cooperative.