Together with the nation’s more than 900 electric cooperatives, the 41 electric membership cooperatives (EMCs) in Georgia, including Mitchell EMC, recently presented the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Distinguished Service Award to U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) in recognition of his outstanding record of service on issues affecting EMCs not only in Georgia but across the nation.
“This award recognizes public officials who have gone above and beyond in furthering the principles and progress of electric cooperatives and helping us achieve our mission,” says Tony Tucker with Mitchell EMC. “Senator Isakson exemplifies this in every way.”
EMC executives pointed to the senator’s efforts in Georgia and Washington which have saved hundreds of millions of dollars for electric cooperative members in Georgia and across America.
According to Tucker, Isakson’s steadfast leadership, both in-state office and in the U.S. Congress, has helped electric cooperatives in the Peach State maintain the highest levels of reliability and affordability in providing electricity to 4.4 million Georgians today. Tucker also noted Sen. Isakson’s steadfast support of the construction of Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4, which Georgia’s electric cooperatives co-own through their generation cooperative, Oglethorpe Power Corp.
“His efforts and ardent support of legislation impacting EMCs have provided added protection for EMC members in the form of lower energy rates and enhanced reliability of the electric infrastructure,” says Tucker.
Senator Isakson’s support of co-ops extends beyond the policy arena. As a longtime member of Cobb EMC, he agreed to be one of the first load management customers for the Marietta-based co-op, helping encourage fellow EMC members to participate in electric cooperative efforts to reduce peak demand for energy in an innovative energy conservation program that remains a great success today.
He also is a passionate supporter of the multitude of youth programs sponsored by EMCs throughout the state such as the annual Washington Youth Tour, the oldest leadership program for teens in Georgia. Mitchell EMC sends 4 local high school students to Atlanta and the nation’s capital to participate in the week-long leadership trip. Without fail, Sen. Isakson has taken time from his schedule to personally meet with the student delegates while they are visiting D.C. to discuss important issues in their respective communities. His tireless example has inspired countless young Georgians to make public service part of their adult life.
EMCs also took the opportunity to recognize Sen. Isakson for his decades of exemplary public service, pointing out he is the first Georgian ever to have been elected to the state House of Representatives, state Senate, U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. In 2016, he became the first Republican in Georgia to be elected to a third term in the U.S. Senate.
“It’s my honor to fight for the customers and employees in Georgia and across the United States who benefit from not only stable sources of power but also the numerous community services, training programs and other initiatives led by our EMCs,” Sen. Isakson said.
Upon acceptance of the 2019 Distinguished Service Award, the senator joins the ranks of other notable Georgians who previously received the Award including U.S. Sen. Richard Russell (D-Ga.) and Walter Harrison, one of the pioneers in the electric cooperative program in Georgia and nationwide.
Mitchell EMC is a consumer-owned cooperative providing electricity and related services to 15,830 members in 14 counties.
The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) is the national trade association representing more than 900 local electric cooperatives. From growing suburbs to remote farming communities, electric co-ops serve as engines of economic development for 42 million Americans across 56 percent of the nation’s landscape. As local businesses built by the consumers they serve, electric cooperatives have meaningful ties to rural America and invest $12 billion annually in their communities.