State Rep. J.D. Sheffield (District 59) addressed United Cooperative Services Monday as the cooperative’s employees gathered for a celebration of Rural Friends/ACRE, a political action committee (PAC) that supports legislators who protect the interests of electric co-ops and their members. United’s board of directors, employees, their spouses and co-op members have pledged over $8,000 of their hard-earned dollars to demonstrate how important the political process is in protecting the electric cooperatives and the services they provide their members.

“Each of our 152 employees understands that in today’s volatile political arena, having a voice with their elected officials is critical, and all of our participation in Rural Friends/ACRE, along with our board of directors and those members who contribute are examples of how to be active in the political process,” said United CEO Ray Beavers.

The PAC is open to all people with an interest in preserving their local electric cooperative and promoting the progress and growth of co-ops and the communities they serve. 

“At United, we have a longstanding focus on protecting the interests of our members,” Beavers said. “It’s essential that we have elected officials in Austin who share in that mission and Dr. Sheffield has been, and continues to be, a vocal proponent for rural Texans and electric cooperative members and employees.”

In introducing Sheffield to the employees, Beavers described a number of accomplishments by the representative, but focused primarily on Sheffield’s desire to serve and protect the rights of his constituents in rural Texas. Sheffield commended the significant role United employees play in the political process, emphasizing the importance of participating in the political process through voting, in addition to their personal contributions to Rural Friends/ACRE.

“People who vote have more impact,” said Sheffield. “Involvement in Austin is so important and people like you have an impact on the votes,” he told attendees. “You folks who do vote, supporting rural electric co-ops and rural areas, play an important role that has an effect on how decisions are made.”