IAEC provides several ways for member-owners, directors, and employees of Iowa's electric cooperatives to engage in the legislative and political process.
Iowa Rural Power
The goal of the Iowa Rural Power grassroots program is to establish a positive relationship with elected officials before they take office. Wearing their green Rural Power t-shirts, grassroots co-op representatives inform and educate candidates on the campaign trail regarding issues that are important to electric co-ops and their member-owners. With Iowa's unique "first in the nation" presidential caucuses, Iowa Rural Power representatives can talk directly to presidential candidates about their plans to ensure affordable and reliable electricity in the years ahead. While only one candidate will ultimately become the next President of the United States, many candidates go on to pursue cabinet posts or other influential positions in government with an understanding of electric cooperatives and their unique challenges.
In 2014, Iowa Rural Power representatives focused their efforts on the open senate seats in the 1st and 3rd congressional districts. Iowa Rural Power representatives engaged with candidates on their campaign trails and established relationships and rapport. As a result, new members of Congress and their key staff are familiar with Iowa's electric cooperatives and the issues impacting their member-owners and the rural communities they serve.
Collaborating with participants in IAEC's Youth Tour program, which sends high school students on a weeklong trip to Washington D.C. every summer, has been a key component to Iowa Rural Power's success. Giving Youth Tour students and alumni access to political candidates on the campaign trail brings fresh enthusiasm and new awareness to the cooperative purpose.
Political Action Committees
Political action committees (or PACs) are an easy way for co-op member-owners and employees to participate in the legislative process. PACs allow ordinary citizens to pool their small contributions to make a meaningful donation to legislative candidates who support their point of view. Without regard to party affiliation, our PACs make contributions to legislative candidates who show an interest in electric co-ops’ legislative positions. ACRE and Iowa FORE receive financial support from cooperative directors and eligible employees of Iowa’s electric cooperatives while several cooperatives offer their member-owners the opportunity to support ACRE through the Co-op Owners for Political Action program. These PACs promote the improvement of government by encouraging electric co-ops to take a more active and effective part in government affairs. ACRE and Iowa FORE, in conjunction with our national and state grassroots efforts, encourage electric co-ops to know and understand the nature and actions of their government, the important political issues, and legislative records.
Action Committee for Rural Electrification (ACRE)
ACRE® is the grassroots political action committee of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), representing the interests of the nation’s nearly 930 nonprofit electric cooperative systems and their 42 million member-owners in rural, suburban and urban areas.
Founded in 1966, ACRE was organized to support only federal candidates – those in Congress now and running for Congress – who will speak for and protect the interests of electric cooperatives and their member-owners. ACRE is bipartisan and its contributions are based on a candidate’s record of support for rural electrification, not on his/her political affiliation. The process by which candidates are chosen to receive support from ACRE is rigorous, requiring the approval of state ACRE committees, NRECA’s ACRE staff and electric co-op state association CEOs.
The PAC is comprised of more than 34,000 individual contributions from electric cooperative directors, managers, employees, and consumers nationwide. The average contribution to ACRE is $44 per year, making it a true grassroots program made up of activists who understand that political involvement is a necessary ingredient for success in the political process. Half of the contributions to ACRE are returned to the statewide associations for use in state elections.
While ACRE supports candidates for the United States House and Senate, it does not contribute to presidential campaigns. ACRE also has a subdivision that involves co-op member-owners called ACRE Co-op Owners for Political Action.
Contributions to the NRECA Action Committee for Rural Electrification (ACRE) are not tax deductible for federal income tax purposes. Contributions to ACRE are voluntary and will be used for political purposes. You have the right to refuse to contribute without reprisal. Any contribution guidelines presented are merely suggestions. You are free to contribute more or less than the suggested amounts, or not at all. NRECA will not favor or disadvantage anyone by reason of the amount contributed or a decision not to contribute.
Iowa Friends of Rural Electrification (FORE)
Iowa FORE assists candidates at the legislative and congressional levels who have shown support of electric cooperatives, regardless of political affiliation. Support is determined after evaluating a candidate’s position, public statements, and voting record on issues critical to electric cooperatives. Committee assignments and leadership positions are also important considerations. Funds are allocated by a 14-member committee, made up of the IAEC board of directors and a representative from each of the association's seven districts. Committee membership represents both political parties.
Contributions to ACRE/FORE are for political purposes and are divided between the two organizations. All contributions are voluntary and one may refuse to contribute without reprisal. On behalf of its members, the IAEC coordinates the contribution of PAC funds to candidates who support the interests and goals of electric cooperatives.
>> To learn more about IAEC's political action initiatives, please contact our Government Relations department.
Contributions are not tax deductible, are voluntary, and will be used for political purposes. You have a right to refuse to contribute without reprisal. Any contribution guidelines presented are merely suggestions. You are free to contribute more or less than the suggested amounts, or not at all.