MT. VERNON – Newly named Jefferson County director Kathy Withers looks forward to bringing a “business perspective” to the Tri-County Electric Cooperative.
Withers was elected by the co-op at the agency's 75th Annual Membership Meeting Saturday. She is the first woman to serve as a co-op director in this county and has owned Holiday Travel in Mt. Vernon for 30 years.
“I'm really looking forward to being on this board,” Withers said. “I think it's nice to bring a perspective from the business community. A lot of our directors are from the farming community.”
More than 1,700 co-op members were on hand for the annual meeting. In addition to agency business, the event also featured a “live-line” electricity safety demonstration, children's activities, informational booths, and more.
Three directors were elected Saturday, representing the three counties that are covered by the co-op. Withers was named to the Jefferson County seat previously held by Jerry Corners who did not seek re-election. Tom Beyers and Phil Carson were re-elected to their seats, representing Marion County and Washington County respectively.
Each of the three counties has three co-op directors. These directors serve on the agency's nine-member board.
“It's nice to be on that board with people who know where utility is going,” Withers said. “We're all looking at rates and trying to figure out how in the future we can serve our members (by) keeping rates as low as possible.”
Several speakers addressed the crowd Saturday, providing a history of the organization and discussing more current issues.
Co-op General Manager Marcia Scott said President Obama's recent mandate to reduce carbon emissions from electric power plants is a cause for concern. It could result in the closing of many coal-fired plants and an increase in utility rates.