South Dakota ACRE&#168 elects officers

South Dakota ACRE¨ elects officers The South Dakota Action Committee for Rural Electrification¨ (ACRE¨) elected officers during its annual meeting Jan. 16.

Approximately 200 ACRE¨ members present at the meeting re-elected Jerry Hammerquist, Caputa, chairman. Hammerquist is a director for West River Electric Association of Wall, where he serves as board president. Wallace Johnson, Geddes, was re-elected vice chairman. Johnson is a director for Charles Mix Electric Association, Lake Andes, where he also serves as board president. Codington-Clark Electric Cooperative manager Gene Ward, Watertown, was re-elected to the post of ACRE¨ secretary. Dakota Energy manager Bob Rademacher, Huron, was re-elected ACRE¨ treasurer.

Organized in 1966, ACRE¨ is the bipartisan, political action arm of NRECA, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. NRECA, located in Washington, DC, is the national organization of nearly 1,000 consumer-owned, electric cooperative utilities.

ACRE¨ was organized to support only federal candidates � those in Congress now and running for Congress � who will speak for and protect the interests of electric cooperatives and their consumers. ACRE¨ is bipartisan and its contributions are based on a candidate's record of support for rural electrification, not on his/her political affiliation.

The process by which candidates are chosen to receive support from ACRE¨ is rigorous, requiring the approval of state ACRE¨ committees, NRECA's ACRE¨ staff and electric co-op state association CEOs.

Hammerquist said having a strong ACRE¨ organization is increasingly important for rural electric consumers.

"If we don't join together with other co-ops and employees, our voice would never be heard," said John Brooks, an ACRE¨ member and line foreman at Charles Mix Electric Association in Lake Andes.

Cooperatives were recognized for reaching membership goals for the 2003 recruitment year, which concluded Aug. 31. South Dakota ended 2003 ACRE¨ year with 585 members. The categories of recognition and the cooperatives honored were:

Charles Mix Electric Association of Lake Andes was recognized as the only cooperative in the state to have 100 percent of its board and all of its employees as ACRE¨ Century Level members.

Cooperatives honored for having 100 percent board and management at Century Club level and 100 percent employee participation in ACRE¨ included: South Dakota Rural Electric Association, Pierre, and Whetstone Valley Electric Cooperative, Milbank.

East River Electric Power Cooperative, Madison, was honored for having 100 percent board and management participation at Century Club level in ACRE¨.

West River Electric Association, Wall, was recognized for having 100 percent board and management, with 100 percent of management at Century Club level.

Cooperatives recognized for having 100 percent board, management and employees participating in ACRE¨ were: Bon Homme Yankton Electric Association, Tabor; Kingsbury Electric Cooperative, DeSmet; and West Central Electric Cooperative, Murdo.

Cooperatives recognized for having 100 percent board and management participating in ACRE¨ were: Black Hills Electric Cooperative, Custer; Central Electric Cooperative, Mitchell; Clay Union Electric Corporation, Vermillion; Codington-Clark Electric Cooperative, Watertown; Dakota Energy Cooperative, Huron; Grand Electric Cooperative, Bison; Lacreek Electric Association, Martin; Lake Region Electric Association, Webster; Northern Electric Cooperative, Bath; Sioux Valley Energy, Colman; and Southeastern Electric Cooperative, Marion.

Cooperatives recognized for having 100 percent of their board as ACRE¨ members were: FEM Electric Association, Ipswich; H-D Electric Cooperative, Clear Lake; and Oahe Electric Cooperative, Blunt.

Butte Electric Cooperative, Newell, and Rushmore Electric Power Cooperative, Rapid City, were recognized for having 100 percent management participation in ACRE¨.

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