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Economic Democracy and the Billion-Dollar Co-op

| Written by Nick Stumo-Langer | No Comments | Updated on May 8, 2017 The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/economic-democracy-and-the-billion-dollar-co-op/

The Nation – May 8, 2017

By Nathan Schneider

Candidate Donald Trump made a campaign stop in February 2016 hosted by South Carolina’s Broad River Electric Cooperative. After taking the auditorium stage, observing that “it’s a lot of people,” and joining the audience in a chant of his surname, Trump began by asking, “Do we love electricity, by the way, all you electricity people?” He went on: “How about life without electricity? Not so good, right? Not so good.” He then changed the subject. 
…

“Our goal is to build a social movement,” says founder Jake Schlachter.

A movement will take some doing. According to a study by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, nearly three-quarters of co-ops see voter turnout of less than 10 percent in board elections. When I attended a board-candidate forum for an electric co-op near where I live, in Colorado, there were more candidates and staff present than anyone else. Only one of the four seats on the ballot was contested. (Hundreds of members come to the annual meetings, however, which include door prizes, a hearty dinner, live entertainment, and a person in a robot suit.) By way of explanation, a staff member repeated what I’ve been told by the leaders of other big co-ops: Low turnout means that members are satisfied.

Read the full story here.