Interns from America’s electric co-ops take voter engagement campaign to Capitol Hill

coops vote interns 500 be9aacoops vote interns 500 be9aaThe National Rural Electric Cooperative Association's bipartisan Co-ops Vote campaign is an opportunity to harness the collective power of millions of cooperators in the U.S., among them 42 million consumer-members of electric co-ops alone. As a founding partner of Co-ops Vote, NCBA CLUSA is bringing the campaign's message of political engagement to a potentially even wider community. This summer, interns culled from electric co-ops across the U.S. joined in the effort to spur voter turnout. NRECA's report follows:  

Voter turnout is an important issue all across the country, but it’s especially significant in rural America where turnout dropped 18 percent in the 2012 elections—twice the drop-off seen nationally. The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s (NRECA) summer interns are making it their mission to help reverse this decline and ensure that the voice of rural America is heard during this election season.

Today, NRECA interns, who come from all over the United States, will be visiting congressional offices to spread the word on the association’s national get out the vote campaign, Co-ops Vote. Co-ops Vote is a non-partisan project of America’s Electric Cooperatives designed to inform their members on the key issues facing co-ops and encourage them to vote with these and other issues critical to rural America in mind.

“America’s electric cooperatives are leaders in the communities they serve throughout the country with a powerful sense of their civic duty,” said NRECA CEO Jim Matheson. “Co-ops Vote focuses elected leaders on the people who are most invested in the success of their own communities. With 42 million members across the nation, electric co-ops are a powerful voice on national issues that have a local impact. We want to be sure that voice is always heard, especially on Election Day.”

Developed and run by NRECA’s interns, the purpose of today’s “Hill Day” is to inform Congress about the issues facing rural America, and to assure rural America that their issues are being brought before Congress. These issues range from affordable electricity and access to renewable energy to broadband access, cybersecurity and more.
NRECA’s interns will start the day distributing Co-ops Vote flyers outside Washington’s Union Station and the Capitol South Metro station, and will then deliver packets of information to congressional offices.

“Our message for Capitol Hill is that co-ops are voting in 2016, and lawmakers should be informed about what matters most to the rural communities co-ops serve,” said Ashton Raffety, an NRECA intern and University of Maryland student. “This project actually consists of many different outreach programs, and we hope to inform as many people as possible about the Co-ops Vote campaign to maximize the effectiveness of what we believe to be a very important cause.”

In addition to spreading the word on Capitol Hill, the group of interns also is designing Co-ops Vote employee engagement programs for cooperatives around the country and reaching out to the youth of rural America about the importance of voting.

For more information on Co-ops Vote, visit www.vote.coop and follow #CoopsVote.

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.


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