08-Mar-2019BARC CEO Mike Keyser Speaks at NRECA Briefing for Members of Congress
Date: March 8, 2019
For Immediate Release
Contact: Tish Blackwell, 800-846-2272 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
BARC CEO Mike Keyser represented cooperatives across the country at a March 6 briefing for Members of Congress, including both representatives and U.S. senators, plus their staff. The briefing was held in Washington, D.C. as part of the unveiling of NRECA’s economic impact analysis on the benefits that electric cooperatives provide to their local economies. Mike joined NRECA CEO Jim Matheson and Ron Holcomb, CEO of Tipmont REMC in Linden, Indiana.
In his remarks, Mike noted various ways in which cooperatives benefit their local economy, from infrastructure investments like solar and broadband to investing in the next generation of members through partnerships with local schools.
Mike said, “Many of the future employees at BARC will be graduates of local high schools, so investing in education is investing in our own future. But more importantly, with improved educational opportunities, along with initiatives like solar and broadband, our focus is on keeping our youth in the community with high paying jobs and improved job opportunities that weren’t available 5 years ago.”
The analysis commissioned by NRECA found that electric cooperatives sustain over 611,000 jobs nationwide and contribute over $88 billion to America’s gross domestic product representing 0.5% of total GDP. To put this into perspective, the entire US auto industry represents 3% of GDP.
In addition to solar and broadband, Mr. Keyser also talked about the landmark net metering legislation passed by the Virginia legislature. “By working cooperatively with all industry stakeholders, Virginia’s electric cooperatives are leading on renewable energy development and have developed a model that other states can use,” said Mike.
“With everything we have going on today impacting the community, BARC is as relevant to our member-consumers’ quality of life as it was 80 years ago when we lit the first light bulb,” Mike pointed out. “We employ 70 full-time employees between our electric cooperative and broadband subsidiary. And we can say something that seemed unimaginable five years ago: we’re growing.”
Following the briefing, Mike took part in a formal TV interview with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s RFD TV. The interview will air nationwide on Dish Network, DirecTV, and Sling.
During the Q&A, when asked if BARC is an acronym, Mike smiled, saying it stands for “Bear and Rattlesnake Country.”
--Report by Andrew M. Vehorn, VMD Association Director of Government Affairs.