Time Tested


Steve Freese
President and CEO

The Wisconsin Electric Cooperative Association (WECA), which publishes this magazine, was established in 1936, becoming the first association representing electric cooperatives in the United States. From that first meeting in April of 1936, we have adhered to the seven principles guiding all cooperatives. Principle number 2 is Democratic Member Control. WECA prides itself as a democratic organization controlled by our 24 distribution cooperatives and our one generation and transmission cooperative (G&T), which are the members.

This democratic member control starts when you go to your cooperative’s annual meeting and elect the men and women who will serve on your local cooperative board. The WECA board members are elected among the membership from four districts and are accountable to them. Each electric cooperative has equal voting rights. These members representing your cooperative will actively participate in setting policies and making decisions that guide WECA. Each July, the representatives of the membership of WECA will meet in their respective district meetings to fulfill that democratic member control outlined in Principle 2. These districts have six distribution cooperative members, and one district includes the G&T. Each district has two director-director board seats and one manager-director seat to provide balance for the statewide board. The member co-ops also help set the position your statewide takes on resolutions offered by the membership from Wisconsin and nationally. These resolutions provide the framework I and the staff follow when it comes to lobbying on issues and taking positions on regulations and legislation that affect the operations of your electric cooperative. These resolutions also provide broad guidance on what we write and communicate to you in this very magazine. It also sets forth direction on the education programs we provide for the directors and staff of each member cooperative.

This democratic process has really served Wisconsin’s electric cooperatives well. I share this with you so you have some background on why we do the things we do on your behalf and on behalf of your own cooperative. Not everything we do has unanimous support, but like any democracy, the will of the majority provides the direction we go. Always remember that principle number 2 starts with you. If you want to help your cooperative continue providing safe, reliable, and affordable electricity, you should participate in the democratic process that has been tested over time.