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Editorial: March 2017

Resolutions reflect member priorities


Josh Kramer, NDAREC executive vice president and general manager
Josh Kramer

Recently, I was asked how our organization determines public policies and initiatives we are supporting. That’s a great question. This is one of our core missions, as an organization that strives to embody the cooperative principles, and continually advance them. We value the grass-roots democratic process that encourages participation, dialogue and debate about issues that are most important to our members.

Every year, NDAREC and our member-cooperatives debate and adopt resolutions declaring our values and preferences on key public policy matters. The content of the resolutions emerges as our cooperatives are listening to their members, and working to continue to deliver affordable, reliable electric power in an environmentally responsible manner.

The NDAREC resolutions process begins with a resolutions committee. People on this committee come from the boards of directors of local electric cooperatives.

The committee reviews existing resolutions to determine whether changes to any are in order. Subject matter for new resolutions is discussed, and oftentimes new resolutions emerge. This is all accomplished in advance of the NDAREC annual meeting, where final action on resolutions is taken by delegates to our meeting. They may debate the adoption of any of our resolutions. In addition, our association bylaws provide for bringing a new resolution “from the floor” as resolutions are considered.

We have set up our resolutions adoption process so it starts from our grass-roots cooperatives and stays true to their wishes. The process is open and controlled by our members, from our earliest meetings, through the final adoption process. We are proud of this transparency, accountability and inclusiveness.

Our membership completed the latest resolutions adoption session at our annual meeting (see meeting recap, page 8). The resolutions we adopted, among others, deal with: energy policies that advocate for reliable, adequate, affordable, diverse and domestic energy supply; common-sense regulation; support for family farmers and rural communities; and enhancements to our quality of life.

This month, at the annual meeting of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), a very comparable process will reach its culmination. Based on what each state organization of electric cooperatives has determined to be their priorities, the NRECA membership will establish and update a slate of national resolutions. The process for NRECA resolutions is similarly grass-roots driven, transparent, and concerned greatly with the well-being of rural American and electric cooperative members.

So, the answer to the question about our policy priorities is simple: They come from you, the cooperative member. We want to be your voice. To do that, you need to stay engaged and involved in public issues of importance to your cooperative. Attend your annual meeting. Visit with your board members and staff. Be heard. That’s how we remain strong.   

Josh Kramer, editor-in-chief of North Dakota Living, is executive vice president and general manager of the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives, Mandan. Comments can be mailed to Josh Kramer, NDAREC, P.O. Box 727, Mandan, ND 58554-0727 or by email