CEO Message — March 2020

The power of participation

Les MorelandAs we start another spring, I am reminded of how blessed we are to live in such a beautiful area with wonderful people. While temperatures in the summer may be hot enough to keep you from enjoying all the Wiregrass has to offer, spring is the perfect time to go outside.

In January, our cooperative and WTVY celebrated our 2019 Silent Heroes of the Wiregrass winners, who are featured on the cover of our Alabama Living magazine. We enjoyed a wonderful time of fellowship and another chance to say “thank you” to the individuals who go above and beyond to make our area a better place to call home. You can read more about them in our Heroes Among Us article.

I would also like to thank our members. Because of your monthly contributions to our Operation Round Up Charitable Foundation, programs like Silent Heroes are possible. Your small change is changing lives, and we thank you. We are already well into another year of Silent Heroes, and I can’t wait to see the new winners selected in 2020.

March also has other very important happenings, and we want to remind everyone of them.

The State of Alabama conducts its primary for this election cycle on March 3, and we encourage all of you to get out and vote. It is exciting and inspiring to watch democracy in action. It is a wonderful thing to know we play a role — as long as we participate.

Which reminds me of something else that is both unique to this spring and requires our participation: the 2020 census.

Beginning this month, American residents will have the opportunity to respond to the census online. People can also return census forms via mail through April 30. Afterward,
U.S. Census Bureau employees will visit households that have not responded.

Counting every resident inside our country is a monumental task, but it is also an extremely important one. You can read more about how the census helps our leaders ensure that every county and state in the union maintains adequate representation in government in our Survey Says...article. Population determines the number of representatives a state sends to Washington, making the census a critical part of our democracy.

While each census is important, the 2020 census could be critical for Alabama, and more specifically the Wiregrass. While the state’s population has maintained steady growth in the last 10 years, our neighboring states like Georgia and Florida have experienced major gains.

Some believe Alabama could be at risk of losing a U.S. representative and the accompanying electoral vote, which will impact the state’s contributions to the 2024 and 2028 presidential races. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has set a goal to get at least 90% of Alabamians to participate in this year’s census.

City, county, and business officials from Houston, Henry, and Geneva counties formed a coalition to encourage the response of as many Wiregrass residents as possible. Success, could prevent changes to Alabama’s political landscape — and also ensure our Wiregrass community receives the federal funding that it is rightly due.

We appreciate the community leaders’ census-related efforts. We believe this partnership will lead to great success, and we urge all of our members to participate.

We have been blessed to have great representation, leaders who have stood in the gap for rural America and ensured that we are not left behind.

We feel answering the census — like voting — is part of the obligations we have as Americans. Participation is all that is asked of us, and participation is indeed all we have. So I urge you to participate in the 2020 census. It will make all the difference in the future of our area.

Les Moreland
CEO Wiregrass Electric Cooperative