Broad River Electric Cooperative Hosts Donald Trump

As the race for the White House heads towards Super Tuesday, Rural Power continues to engage candidates on the campaign trail, telling them the story of rural electric co-ops and asking a simple question: What is your plan to ensure safe, affordable, reliable, and environmentally responsible electricity?

The Rural Power campaign has grown to include activities in several early primary and caucus states, including the crucial state of South Carolina, which held its GOP primary on February 20, and is preparing for the Democratic primary this upcoming Saturday.

Broad River Electric Cooperative Hosts Donald Trump

Last week, the Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina invited each presidential candidate to attend a co-op 3E listening session focused on energy, education, and economic development. On February 18, Republican frontrunner Donald Trump accepted the invitation and spoke at Broad River Electric Cooperative in Gaffney, SC.

The event was a major success, attracting over 2,000 attendees and journalists from national media outlets such as CNN, CBS and NBC. Trump met with several co-op representatives ahead of his speech to discuss the issues of importance to America’s Electric Cooperatives and the Rural Power effort. During his remarks, Trump highlighted the importance of reliable electricity to our communities, and he commended the work done every day by co-op employees.

The event was successful because of the dedicated, hard-working employees at Broad River Electric Cooperative and the Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina. These individuals set a great example for how co-ops can host a major presidential campaign event.

Donald Trump addresses the 3E Forum at Broad River Electric Cooperative on February 18, 2016.

Donald Trump addresses the 3E Forum at Broad River Electric Cooperative on February 18, 2016.

Richard Baines, interim CEO of Broad River Electric Cooperative, meets with Donald Trump ahead of his remarks at the 3E Forum.

Richard Baines, interim CEO of Broad River Electric Cooperative, meets with Donald Trump ahead of his remarks at the 3E Forum.

Rural Power’s Voter Guide Reaches Iowa Caucus Goers

The Rural Power campaign continues to engage 2016 presidential candidates on the campaign trail in across the nation. Since the fall, Rural Power advocates in Iowa engaged every presidential candidate while they were on the trail again of last week’s Iowa Caucuses. Advocates attended over a hundred campaign events, in every corner of the state, to learn the candidates’ plans to ensure safe, affordable, reliable, and environmentally responsible power to all Americans. The Rural Power Campaign shows candidates that electric cooperatives and their member-consumers are actively engaged in this debate and serious about having a conversation on these issues.

Voter Guide

Ahead of the Iowa Caucuses, Iowa Rural Power advocates attended hundreds of campaign events to ask presidential candidates a simple question: What is your plan to ensure safe, affordable, reliable, and environmentally responsible electricity?

Taking their experiences on the campaign trail, and the public statements from candidates, Rural Power compiled the 2016 Rural Power Voter Guide to show caucus goers, the media, and other political observers where each candidate stands on the issue of affordable and reliable power. The voter guide includes examples of advocate interaction with all the candidates and is an excellent resource for voters in any state.

Click Here to Read the Voter Guide

Rural Power Media Campaign

To promote the 2016 Rural Power Voter Guide and showcase the tremendous effort of our grassroots advocates, Rural Power launched an aggressive media campaign in the weeks before the Iowa Caucuses. Candidate positions on Rural Power were highlighted through statewide radio advertising, a full-page advertisement in the Des Moines Register the day of the final pre-caucus Republican debate, and an extensive digital campaign.

Our paid media effort exposed hundreds of thousands of Iowans to the importance of electric cooperatives and encouraged them to get the facts before they participated in the caucuses.

Rural Power's full page ad in the Des Moines Register.

Rural Power’s full page ad in the Des Moines Register.

Next Up: Continued Rural Power Engagement

With Iowa behind us, Rural Power advocates across the nation are preparing to engage presidential candidates in 2016. Already, Georgia Rural Power has met with campaigns on the trail and advocates are eager to attend more events as we approach primaries and caucuses in their states. Stay up-to-date on the latest activity on our website, or on Twitter @CoopRuralPower.

Chris Christie joins Rural Power during Iowa tour

The Rural Power campaign continues to engage 2016 presidential candidates on the campaign trail in Iowa and across the nation. One candidate who has frequently visited with Rural Power advocates is New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Last week Christie took the opportunity to kicko his weekend tour of Iowa by speaking to co-op leaders at the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives annual meeting.


Chris Christie Kicks Off Iowa Tour With Speech to Annual Meeting

On Friday, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie visited wiDSC01559th co-op leaders at the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives’ annual meeting in West Des Moines, Iowa. Gov. Christie used this opportunity to expand on his ideas for ensuring safe, a ordable, and reliable power for all Americans and give Rural Power advocates a better understanding of what his priorities would be as president.

Speaking to a crowd of nearly 400 co-op leaders and dozens of local and national reporters, Christie began by speaking about how his home state of New Jersey has tackled the issue of providing a ordable power for all. While New Jersey is the nation’s third largest solar producing state, Gov. Christie told the audience that there is no one-size- ts-all solution.

Instead, Christie said he believes, “each state should be empowered by the federal government to pick the alternative energies that work best for them.” Christie also said he opposed imposing any new regulatory agenda “without regard to success or failure, without regard to cost, and without regard to what people want.”

Christie made the economic case for ensuring a ordable and reliable power across America, as he discussed the potential for new manufacturing jobs in the country as a ordable power makes the nation more competitive.

Christie also focused his speech heavily on national security. The New Jersey governor told the audience that “the president’s rst job is protecting the safety and security of the American people.”

Electric cooperatives and cooperative statewide organizations across the nation have extended an invitation to all presidential candidates to attend annual meetings and other events in order to better inform the millions of co-op member- consumers about their vision for America. Past interactions with candidates can be found online at or on Twitter @CoopRuralPower.

Coming Soon: Candidate Guide

To better inform member-consumers and cooperative leaders across the nation, the Rural Power campaign has requested all presidential candidates complete and return a brief survey on issues related to ensuring a ordable and reliable power for all Americans. While the Rural Power campaign will not endorse any candidate, survey results and other information from Rural Power’s interactions with candidates will be posted online ahead of the 2016 presidential caucuses and primaries.



Georgia Rural Power Hits the Campaign Trail

The Rural Power campaign continues to engage 2016 presidential candidates on the campaign trail. In the past several weeks, Rural Power has spread its reach beyond Iowa and has begun to actively engage campaigns in Georgia, where the primary election is scheduled for March 1st. Our advocates were also some of the few selected to sit in the audience of the CBS News Democratic debate held earlier this month in Des Moines.


2015-11-16 16.29.51Heidi Cruz, the wife of Republican presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), was welcomed by Georgia Rural Power advocates when she toured Georgia last week on behalf of the campaign.

Advocates representing Georgia’s 41 electric co-ops, which bring power to 4.4 million member-owners, discussed with Mrs. Cruz where Sen. Cruz stands on providing affordable and reliable power to all Americans. Mrs. Cruz shared her husband’s vision with our advocates and discussed his priorities on federal regulations that impact the energy industry.



Members of the Rural Power team were on hand at Drake University in Des Moines, IA, for the first broadcast network television debate of the 2016 election cycle, representing the campaign both in the debate hall and at watch parties on campus.
Secretary Hillary Clinton, Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Gov. Martin O’Malley (D-MD) answered a wide range of questions about how their administration would handle the various issues facing our country, including the role of government regulation.




Before taking the stage at a fundraiser for State Rep. Bobby Kaufmann in Wilton, IA, Republican candidate Ben Carson took time to sit down with several representatives from Eastern Iowa REC. These Rural Power advocates had the opportunity to ask Dr. Carson about his plans for affordable and reliable power and presented him with a questionnaire that Rural Power is asking all candidates to complete so that we can better inform member-consumers across the nation.

Rural Power out in full force at the Iowa Jefferson-Jackson Dinner

Rural Power advocates out in full force for the Iowa Jefferson-Jackson Dinner

A Rural Power advocate looks on as Secretary Hillary ????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Clinton delivers remarks and the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner.

A Rural Power advocate looks on as Secretary Hillary ????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Clinton delivers remarks and the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner.

Rural Power advocates dominated the Iowa Democratic Party’s annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner over the weekend, advocating for co-ops across the nation by encouraging candidates to support safe, affordable and reliable power for all Americans. Rural Power advocates, including nearly 20 Electric Cooperative Youth Tour students, attended the dinner, pre-event rallies and receptions with party activists.

Before the event, pop star Katy Perry performed on behalf of Hillary Clinton, with a special introduction by former President Bill Clinton. Rural Power advocates then staffed a Rural Power booth,

giving dinner attendees information on the co-op movement, stickers to show their support and a chance to take a photo with a cutout of President Roosevelt – who signed the Rural Electrification Act into law in 1936.

Rural Power advocates with former Gov. Martin O'Malley at the Iowa Democratic Party's annual dinner.

Rural Power advocates with former Gov. Martin O’Malley at the Iowa Democratic Party’s annual dinner.

The Rural Power program’s presence at events like the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner is an important way that the program is educating presidential candidates, activists and the media on the importance of co-ops across the nation.

Youth Tour student and Rural Power advocate Jordan Pope summarized why he’s active in the program, saying:

“I believe that the Rural Power movement is a key way for REC’s to band together and build a loud voice. What separates this from any others groups is that Rural Power is presented by the members themselves. Candidates see real people with real problems that need to be addressed. Rural Power gives coops a voice that we have never had before, and the best part is that anyone can be a part of it and build to making a difference.”

Rural Power attends RFD-TV taping with Sec. Tom Vilsack and Carly Fiorina

Rural Power advocates are proud to be a part of RFD-TV’s ongoing Rural Town Hall series. Last week, advocates attended town hall tapings with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina.

In response to a question from Raccoon Valley Electric Co-Op in Glidden, IA, Fiorina reiterated her support for a rural America, saying:

“…rural America is a hugely important part of this nation’s potential. That rural Iowa, in particular, is not only a hugely important piece of this nation’s potential, but it has a hugely vital role to play in the world.”

Connect with Rural Power

Stay up-to-date with the latest news on the Rural Power campaign and follow along as we engage candidates across the country. Follow us on Twitter @CoopRuralPower for the latest.

Rural Power Update: DC Open House and Georgia Rural Power Kickoff

Over the past several weeks, Rural Power has increased its interactions with 2016 presidential candidates on the campaign trail in Iowa and has grown its grassroots presence in other early-voting states. Top-level candidates sent Congressional surrogates and energy policy advisors to participate in Rural Power’s recent forum in Washington, D.C., while Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA) held a major campaign event at a co-op facility in Iowa. In each of these interactions, Rural Power’s message remains the same: What can you do to provide safe, affordable and reliable electricity across the nation?


Representatives from several 2016 presidential campaigns attended an open house earlier this month in Washington D.C., where they were given the opportunity to discuss their candidate’s plan to provide safe, affordable and reliable energy with Rural Power advocates from Iowa and other Midwestern states.


Rural Power advocates hear from 2016 presidential campaigns on energy policy in Washington, D.C.

Representatives for Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, Bernie Sanders, Marco Rubio, Martin O’Malley, Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz were on hand to share their energy policy platforms and answer questions from the advocates in attendance. Each campaign was supportive of the co-op model and encouraged advocates to continue interacting with their candidate at local events.

Georgia Rural Power advocates attend a 2016 briefing as the state’s advocacy campaign kicks off.

Georgia Rural Power advocates attend a 2016 briefing as the state’s advocacy campaign kicks off.


Last week was the official kickoff meeting for Georgia Rural Power advocates. Advocates in Georgia received information on the Rural Power program, a briefing on the state of the 2016 race and green shirts for their engagements on the campaign trail


In addition to engaging candidates on the campaign trail, many co-ops have opened their doors to host candidate town halls. Gov. Bobby Jindal used this opportunity to hold town halls with member-consumers at Raccoon Valley Electric Cooperative and Nishnabotna Electric Cooperative. The Rural Power program welcomes all campaigns to join us for a meaningful discussion on energy policy.

Presidential candidate Gov. Bobby Jindal visits a co-op facility in Iowa to speak with Rural Power advocates.

Presidential candidate Gov. Bobby Jindal visits a co-op facility in Iowa to speak with Rural Power advocates.

Energy Policy Dominates Iowa State Fair Soapbox

With all eyes on the Iowa State Fair, the Rural Power campaign successfully met with nearly all presidential candidates during the ten-day lineup at the Des Moines Register’s Soapbox, where candidates spoke and took questions from caucus-goers. The Rural Power campaign managed to make energy policy a focus of the Soapbox speeches.

Key Highlights:

  • Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) discussed the need to balance sustainability with sound economic decisions, saying, “I want to make sure we have clean land, clean air, clean water. But I also know we need to balance not only a sustainable environment, with a sustainable economy. The two go hand-in-hand.”
  • Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL) urged Americans “to embrace the energy revolution in our country to be energy secure, with North American resources, in a short period of time.”
  • Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) stressed Ohio’s energy security, saying, “We found natural gas, and one of the great things about that is it’s allowing us to become energy independent.”
  • Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) discussed his opposition to the Clean Power Plan, saying it will “kill jobs in America and it kills technology and advancement in America. And, what we need to do—this is what we do in New Jersey—I think that each state should be able to do the thing that works best for them.”
  • Gov. Martin O’Malley (D-MD) praised Iowa’s success at installing wind energy, saying, “Here in Iowa, you’re already making it happen. Ten, 15 years ago this wasn’t true, but today it is. 30 percent of Iowa’s electricity comes from clean, Iowa wind.”
  • Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA) called for an all-of-the- above energy approach, saying, “We’ve got to have solar, we’ve got to have ethanol, we’ve got to have wind, we have to have oil, we have to have gas, clean coal, we have to have nuclear, we have to have it all and we have to have the EPA out of the way.”
  • Gov. Lincoln Chafee (D-RI) told the audience about his experience securing reliable energy in New England, saying, “We came with a pact to get Canadian hydropower down from way up there in northern Quebec and Labrador, unlimited resources of hydropower, clean, reliable, affordable, just what you’re talking about.”
  • Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) discussed the benefits of affordable electricity by saying, “You heard me talk about manufacturing. That’s the key to getting this country going again. Well, one of the reasons that manufacturing can bloom here in America now is because of cheaper and more affordable energy.”

Up Next: REC Annual Meetings

In the coming weeks, Rural Electric Cooperatives across Iowa will be hosting their annual meetings. Cooperatives have reached out to all presidential campaigns to invite them to speak at these meetings to their highly engaged and politically active member-consumers. Stay tuned for more on this exciting opportunity.

On the Trail

As the candidates continue to hold events in early caucus and primary states, our advocates are on the ground asking them a simple question: What is your plan to ensure an adequate supply of reliable and affordable electricity across America? In the past week, advocates for rural electric cooperatives engaged Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) and Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) at campaign trail stops in Guthrie Center and Onawa, Iowa.


USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack visited Eastern Iowa Light & Power Cooperative last week to announce a historic $44 million loan to the coop to improve 350 miles of electric line in eastern Iowa. The grant is the largest electric distribution loan ever issued by the USDA’s Rural Utilities Services in Iowa. The loan includes funding for smart-grid technology and other improvements to ensure reliable power for member-consumers in the state.


The Iowa Caucuses are heating up and last weekend saw many of the major candidates, including all of the Democratic contenders, in the state for events. Our grassroots Rural Power advocates were on the ground and engaging candidates and campaign staff in a discussion about America’s electric cooperatives and the importance of providing affordable and reliable electricity.

On Friday, July 17th, the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives was a host sponsor for the Iowa Democratic Party’s annual Hall of Fame Dinner in Cedar Rapids, where advocates engaged all five Democratic candidates in a discussion about electric cooperatives. This was the first time all the Democratic candidates shared the same stage, and the Rural Power campaign had a front row seat.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker also continued his announcement tour across the state over the weekend. Walker discussed the Rural Power campaign with our advocates and three advocates, in their green shirts, were able to sit behind him on stage during his town hall in Cedar Rapids. These advocates will continue to be visible and active throughout the caucus and primary season.