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balancing the scales, June 10, 2013

New Energy and Transition Update

Ray Tucker: Working together to build a stronger democracy

Ray Tucker, a Pulaski County farmer, KFTC member and former KFTC chairperson, recently ran for the board of his rural electric co-op, the South Kentucky RECC. He wrote this reflection on his campaign and the role of KFTC in building a stronger democracy. by Ray Tucker

My run for the South Kentucky RECC board started at a public hearing I spoke at last fall. The hearing was held in response to a group that was circulating a petition to dissolve our local library board. This petition, if successful, would have closed all public libraries in Pulaski County. At the hearing I said we needed to work together as a community. And a long dormant spark awakened in me that helped frame the question, how do we build community together? I told the crowd of more than 200 that I was encouraged to see them at this meeting to save our library. I said this can’t be one and done, that we have real issues to deal with in our area and

we have to be involved beyond voting. We needed to work toward a better democracy. I rededicated myself to work for accountability and democracy. Four members of our electric co-op board had just resigned. The spark ignited at the library meeting was fanned into full campaign flames in less than a month when the South Kentucky co-op outlined the process to fill the open board seats. By mid-January I was on the ballot, along with 15 other people, for the board seat in my district. I walked my neighborhood collecting signatures to qualify for the ballot, tabled at the strip mall and at a community yard sale, talked with people in my church – did the same things that KFTC has been doing for 30-plus years to organize a campaign. I chose to highlight KFTC’s role in my path to leadership development. I’m proud of the skills I’ve learned in KFTC. Our leadership model is valid, we are building the leaders of tomorrow, and we need to embrace our work as valid

leadership, just like the chamber of commerce does for their members. We used data to target our effort toward potential voters who were most likely to agree with my platform of openness, democracy and clean energy choices. I contacted KFTC members in the area, and KFTC members made calls on my behalf. It was very empowering to be part of a campaign that had involvement from wonderful people in a great organization. I learned that we can do this. Although I did not win the seat, we got our message out, and I think the message of open meetings, published minutes and clean energy options is heard in our co-op and will be demanded by the members, if not embraced by the board, in the near future. KFTC members took another important step at the Appalachia’s Bright Future conference in Harlan in April, and I am convinced we have the leaders in our organization to move our communities forward. As Wendell Berry said 20 years ago, we need a new political party that

Renew East Kentucky campaign briefs RECC annual meetings

This summer the rural electric co-ops in Kentucky are holding their annual meetings of the members. These meetings vary from a mid-morning no-frills business meeting at some to all-out county fair-like gatherings with national entertainment at others. But every gathering has a business meeting in which the members receive updates about the status of the cooperative and vote on any matters before the membership. KFTC members are encouraged to attend their annual cooperative membership meetings, to speak with co-op board and staff members about the need for clean, affordable energy and openness and democracy in the co-ops, and to attend the business meeting. The meetings run from early May through mid-July. Check with your rural electric

co-op for the time and location of your annual meeting. You can find links to all the electric co-ops in Kentucky at

two-year run, and will likely be held in Lexington. Contact KFTC Organizer Sara Pennington for more information: or 606-276-9933.

Upcoming Clean Energy Collaborative meeting

Public Forum on renewable energy planned for fall

The next public meeting of the Clean Energy Collaborative – in which KFTC participates with our clean energy allies, the East Kentucky Power Cooperative, and 16 distribution co-ops – will be Monday, July 22, 1 - 5 p.m. Please join other KFTC members to hear from EKPC’s market research on renewable energy as well as other business and education related to energy efficiency and clean energy in the rural electric co-op system. Members of the public are always provided with time to make a public comment at the end of the meeting. This will be the next-to-last meeting of the Collaborative in its

The Clean Energy Collaborative will hold a public forum on renewable energy in mid-September (the date is still being finalized) in Danville at the Inter-County Energy community room. EKPC and the co-ops, along with KFTC members and allies, will present on what renewable energy options are offered and being planned for the co-ops in the future. There will be plenty of time for public input and questions and answers. Please check your next issue of balancing the scales for the exact meeting time and how you can participate.

represents the people and the land. KFTC is that organization. And this summer we have KFTC’s annual meeting. Come to General Butler State Park this August and together we’ll learn how grassroots organizing builds a stronger democracy. KFTC is the model of democracy that works!

Renew Shelby Energy campaign ramps back up

After a hiatus of a few months, KFTC members in the Shelby County chapter and surrounding area are picking up their campaign to pass a Members’ Bill of Rights in the Shelby Energy Cooperative. A work team of members held a planning meeting to strategize a petition-gathering and public pressure campaign in support of the Bill of Rights. They will present the petition to the board with hundreds of signatures of supporters this fall. The Members’ Bill of Rights calls for open meetings, open records, and open and fair elections in one of the rural electric co-ops with the most need for these reforms. To join the work team for this campaign, or just to learn more and find other ways to help out, contact KFTC Organizer Sara Pennington: sara@kftc. org or 606-276-9933. The Shelby County KFTC chapter members would love to have your support.

Save The Date: 2013 Annual Meeting, August 16-18, General Butler State Park

June 2013 - balancing the scales  
June 2013 - balancing the scales  

This is the June 2013 edition of balancing the scales, the organizational newsletter of Kentuckians For The Commonwealth