Ray Tucker reflects on his run for rural electric co-op board | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Ray Tucker reflects on his run for rural electric co-op board

Ray Tucker, a Pulaski County farmer, KFTC member and former statewide chairperson, recently ran for the board of his rural electric co-op, the South Kentucky RECC. He has written this reflection on his campaign and the role of KFTC in building a stronger democracy.

My run for the South Kentucky RECC board started at a public hearing I spoke at last fall.  

The hearing was held in response to a group that was circulating a petition to dissolve our local library board. This petition, if successful, would have closed all public libraries in Pulaski County.

At the hearing I said we needed to work together as a community. And a long dormant spark awakened in me that helped frame the question, how do we build community together?

I told the crowd of more than 200 that I was encouraged to see them at this meeting to save our library. I said this can’t be one and done, that we have real issues to deal with in our area and we have to be involved beyond voting. We needed to work toward a better democracy. I rededicated myself to work for accountability and democracy.

Four members of our electric co-op board had just resigned. The spark ignited at the library meeting was fanned into full campaign flames in less than a month when the South Kentucky co-op outlined the process to fill the open board seats. By mid-January I was on the ballot, along with 15 other people, for the board seat in my district.

I walked my neighborhood collecting signatures to qualify for the ballot, tabled at the strip mall and at a community yard sale, talked with people in my church -- did the same things that KFTC has been doing for 30-plus years to organize a campaign.  

It was very empowering to be part of a campaign that had involvement from wonderful people in a great organization.

I chose to highlight KFTC’s role in my path to leadership development. I’m proud of the skills I’ve learned in KFTC. Our leadership model is valid, we are building the leaders of tomorrow, and we need to embrace our work as valid leadership, just like the chamber of commerce does for their members.  

We used data to target our effort toward potential voters who were most likely to agree with my platform of openness, democracy and clean energy choices. I contacted KFTC members in the area, and KFTC members made calls on my behalf.

It was very empowering to be part of a campaign that had involvement from wonderful people in a great organization. I learned that we can do this. Although I did not win the seat, we got our message out, and I think the message of open meetings, published minutes and clean energy options is heard in our co-op and will be demanded by the members, if not embraced by the board, in the near future.

KFTC members took another important step at the Appalachia’s Bright Future conference in Harlan in April, and I am convinced we have the leaders in our organization to move our communities forward. As Wendell Berry said 20 years ago, we need a new political party that represents the people and the land. KFTC is that organization.

And this summer we have KFTC’s annual meeting. Come to General Butler State Park this August and together we’ll learn how grassroots organizing builds a stronger democracy. KFTC is the model of democracy that works!

Comments

I am so sorry you didn't win! Can't believe it. You'all did a great job, though, and thank you for making the effort. 

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