(MAPLE GROVE, MINN) – The Minnesota Rural Electric Association held its 82nd annual meeting with the theme “Cooperatively Powered” at the St. Paul River Centre in February. Governor Walz spoke during a portion of the business meeting. He spoke about the newly passed 100% Carbon Free by 2040 bill and acknowledged that passing legislation and achieving the goal are two different things.
“This is an organization that has been interested in solving problems,” he said, “… investing in making Minnesota a state where power is reliable, affordable and sustainable.” Walz thanked the electric cooperatives for providing reliable electricity to Minnesota’s homes and businesses — providing a high quality of life to residents.
“If people don’t have to think about [electric supply], they don’t know how much work went into making it happen. So, on a cold day with the winds blowing, and people are able to turn on their TVs and stream Netflix, or whatever they are going to do, all of those things are provided with a whole lot of planning and a whole lot of work that went into it by folks in this room,” Gov. Walz said. “For that I am grateful. Minnesotans’ quality of life is enhanced greatly by it.”
MREA’s Board Chair Wes Waller addressed the audience and said the relationship all the co-ops have through MREA is like a marriage where we all work toward a common goal. “Working together in a mutually supportive way, I believe operating in this manner we can continue to do great things for you, the membership,” Waller said.
MREA President and CEO Darrick Moe discussed the resiliency of the association, the growth of the communications program and amplifying the messages of Minnesota’s electric cooperatives. He highlighted the success of the government affairs program during this year’s legislative session.
“We achieved meaningful amendments to the 100% Carbon Free bill in this legislative session,” Moe said.
“MREA stood up for reliability and affordability and did get important modifications,” Moe said to a round of applause, “demonstrating that we are cooperatively powered and resilient.”
Other reports were heard during the meeting, including safety, communications and financial updates. Two new board members John Reynolds, Buffalo, and Scott Thiesse, Welcome, were elected.
During the legislative day, held the day before the business meeting, members received a legislative update from Jenny Glumack, MREA’s director of government affairs, and heard a robust discussion between legislators during the panel discussion.
A special thank you to legislators on that panel: Rep. Nick Frentz, District 18, Rep. Patty Acomb, District 45B, Sen. Jason Rarick, District 11, and Rep. Chris Swedzinski, District 15A, along with moderator Blois Olson, CEO of Fluence Media. The discussion among these energy committee leaders was interesting, lively and helped to present a cross-section of views relating to Minnesota’s energy policy.
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