Manager's Message: Speak up, or have somebody else speak for you

Manager's Message: Speak up, or have somebody else speak for you

By the time you read this, our annual round of district membership meetings will be complete. We will have served thousands of hot dogs and renewed friendships with thousands of the co-op’s member-owners.

But even though we will appreciate every one of the members who comes out to their neighborhood meeting, the bottom line is that only about 2 or 3% of the total membership is involved with running their co-op.

At each district, the members who attended elected delegates, who will each represent 100 of their neighbors. From those delegates, the district officers are elected.

These people have an important job: every three years they serve as a nominating committee for the board of directors’ seat in your district. And that’s important because the directors, as a group, set the policies that guide how your co-op is operated.

You can see how having only 2 or 3% of the members involved in the process might affect your experience with HomeWorks Tri-County Electric.

What about the other 97%? Some are happy with their service and don’t see a need to get involved, since everything seems to be running well. Some don’t realize they have a say in their electric utility. And some just don’t make it a priority in their already-busy lives. “Somebody else” will do it.

It’s the same with local, state and national elections. The turnout is higher, true, but in most cases a minority of people are making the decisions that affect every one of us.

And it’s not just elections that work better with grassroots participation. Your opinions and comments are needed at every level of government, from legislators to rulemakers, to make sure leaders know what you want and expect, and how you feel services could be improved.

We work with our statewide and national associations to speak on your behalf in Lansing and Washington. Once in a while, as with the “Our Energy, Our Future” campaigns of a few years ago, we’ve asked you to participate directly.

The time is coming when more voices will be needed. Legislators tell us they pay more attention when one member, one citizen speaks up, than when an organization talks for them.

We hope you’ll speak up when you’re asked – when it’s time to run your co-op, to run your state government, or to run your country. These issues are too important to leave for “somebody else” to take care of.

- June, 2013 Country Lines

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