Don't discard that ballot

On Friday, March 30, Homer Electric Association election ballots will be mailed to members. If you buy electricity from HEA you're eligible to vote for a person to represent your interests on the Board of Directors.

Why bother to vote?

HEA Directors make decisions that affect your pocket book and quality of life. They approve hundreds of millions of dollars in loans and purchases. They determine what projects -- power plants, transmission and distribution lines, substations, dams and creek diversions -- will be built and how to staff them. They decide when and how much to raise your electric rates.

For the last three years I've attended most HEA Board and committee meetings and watched how the nine HEA Directors work. Do they take time to understand issues they deal with? Do they make thoughtful, independent decisions or simply "go along to get along?" Do they treat ordinary HEA members with respect and seriously consider their concerns? Are they dedicated to conducting business in an open manner?

Three candidates have consistently demonstrated all those characteristics: David Thomas (district 1); Ed Oberts (district 2); Jim Levine (district 3). Ed and Jim are completing their first terms. David served one term ending last May. All are diligent, fiscally responsible, and approachable.

There will also be a ballot proposition this year. Members are asked to approve amending HEA bylaws to allow for optional electronic voting. Perhaps that would improve member participation -- a good thing. Unfortunately many local, state, and federal elections have been plagued with electronic voting problems. If we approve this we should make clear to HEA Directors and management that we want adequate safeguards to protect against glitches, hacking, and outright vote manipulation.

Unlike ratepayers who buy electricity from a private power company, HEA members have the right to help determine our cooperative's policies and direction. The best way to do this is by electing capable, responsible, Directors.

You won't go wrong voting for Ed Oberts, David Thomas, or Jim Levine.

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