Now in its third year, the Champion of Indiana’s Electric Cooperatives award is being presented to three lawmakers who are strong advocates for cooperatives in three different legislative arenas: the U.S. House of Representatives, the Indiana House of Representatives, and the Indiana Senate.
The award is the most distinguished honor for public servants presented by Indiana Electric Cooperatives, the service association for the state’s electric cooperatives. It honors lawmakers who demonstrate leadership and steadfast support for electric cooperative legislative and policy priorities.This year’s honorees are:
• The Hon. Todd Young, U.S. representative from Indiana’s 9th Congressional District
• The Hon. Jim Merritt, Indiana state senator from District 31;
• The Hon. Eric Koch, Indiana state representative from District 65.
Young, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives since 2010, is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over the tax code, social insurance programs like Social Security and Medicare, and federal trade policy. He has authored the REINS Act, which would require any regulation with an impact of $100 million or higher to come before Congress for an up or down vote.
Merritt has been a member of the Indiana Senate for 15 years and is not only the majority caucus chair, but also the chairman of the Senate Utilities Committee. He supported electric cooperatives’ service territory preservation interests through Senate Bill 309 during the 2015 legislative session.
Another champion for service territory preservation is Koch. A 13-year member of the Indiana House of Representatives, he is chairman of the House Utilities, Energy and Telecommunications Committee, and also serves as assistant majority caucus chairman.
The Champion of Indiana’s Electric Cooperatives designation is designed to be presented as worthy recipients emerge, not necessarily annually. Young, Merritt and Koch will receive their awards at the Indiana Electric Cooperatives annual meeting Monday, Dec. 7, 2015, in Indianapolis.
We also asked the champions to participate in a Q&A. Here are their responses — champions FULL Q&A.