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Our local member-owned electric cooperative, Orcas Power & Light Co-op, announces the slate of candidates for its Board of Directors. This is each member’s opportunity to choose the decision makers who set Co-op policies and rates. Every OPALCO member has the right to vote in each election, regardless of their home district, with one vote per membership.

For this 2016 election, there are four candidates running for two open positions in District 3 (Lopez, Decatur, Center and Charles islands): Jim Lett (incumbent), Brian Silverstein and Lauren Stephens who were nominated by a committee of co-op members and L. Dwight Lewis, who was nominated by petition. In District 4 (Shaw, Bell, Crane and Canoe islands) there are two candidates running for one open position: Dr. Jerry Whitfield (incumbent) who was nominated by committee and Gabriel Jacobs who was nominated by petition. There is also a member-initiated bylaw amendment on the ballot regarding how board positions are apportioned within each district.

Candidate bios are available in our Resource Library online at OPALCO will host candidate forums at the Shaw Community Building (4/19), Friday Harbor Grange (4/20), Lopez Woodmen Hall (4/21) and Eastsound Fire Hall (4/22). Forums begin at 5:00 pm and will be followed by an informal Q&A session with OPALCO staff.

Ballots and a voting guide will be distributed the week of April 8, 2016. Co-op members can vote one of three ways: online, by mail or in person at the Annual Meeting. Voting online is the preferred method; it is secure and it saves co-op resources. A survey on this year’s ballot will once again ask you how you prefer to vote; those opted to vote online in last year’s ballot survey will receive their election materials via email this year.

Absentee balloting closes at 10 AM on April 29, 2016. If members choose to vote by absentee ballot, the ballot must be mailed in time to meet the deadline. Or, members can vote at the Annual Meeting on Saturday, April 30, 2016.

Members and their families who attend the 79th Annual Meeting aboard a Washington State ferry will be treated to a healthy and delicious lunch and eligible for door prizes. The Annual Meeting begins at 9:45 AM on the ferry. Members should arrive earlier than their boarding time to park and register for the meeting. Members who are disabled or require special accommodations to participate in the meeting should call Bev Madan at 376-3549 to make arrangements. Full travel details, including ferry departures, are available on our website, select the Resource Library, select Annual Meeting and Elections, and view the 2016 Ferry Travel Schedule.

An express registration option will be offered this year to minimize wait times at the ferry landings. Each member will receive a letter through the mail with their unique member number and a bar code. Please bring this letter with you to the ferry landing for a speedy registration experience.

Why does OPALCO hold an annual meeting? Co-op bylaws and the federal government agency USDA Rural Utilities Service require that our cooperative and its members hold an Annual Meeting. It’s a great opportunity for the wider OPALCO family of members to connect and meet the OPALCO leadership.


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