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Leadership Letters

 

Letter from TEC President/CEO Mike WilliamsPhoto of Texas Electric Cooperatives President/CEO Mike Williams

June 1, 2017

Over the past 80 years, the rich heritage of the electric cooperative program has been woven into communities across the state. The co-ops’ purpose—to improve their members’ lives—is nowhere more evident than in the 52-year tradition of the Government-in-Action Youth Tour.

This longstanding program sends the next generation of leaders to our nation’s capital to interact with lawmakers and represent their co-ops and the communities those co-ops serve. They return home armed with knowledge they can use to benefit their communities and their lives.

This year, Texas electric cooperatives will send a record 147 students on the trip of a lifetime. Once in Washington, D.C., they’ll join more than 1,700 future leaders from across the country to experience what then-Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson in 1957 described as an opportunity to “see what the flag stands for and represents.”

If you are reading this magazine as an alum of the program, you are part of something special. If you are considering applying, I’d encourage you to do so. It will change your life.

Best Regards,

Mike Williams
President/CEO
Texas Electric Cooperatives

 

Letter from TEC President/CEO Mike Williams

June 1, 2016

Every year, government-in-action youth tour participants come home to Texas excited about all their new friends. Youth Tour emphasizes lessons in American government, history and culture, and the experience helps each participant understand how electric cooperatives make a difference in the world. But meeting people is just as important.

Over 100 future leaders sponsored by Texas cooperatives join more than 1,700 other high school students from across the country on what many call the trip of a lifetime. They meet electric cooperative leaders, as well as chaperones from various walks of life. They also meet their congressional representatives and legislative staff in Washington, D.C.

The relationships formed on the trip often lead to lifetime friendships, and job and internship opportunities. Several Youth Tour alumni highlighted in this issue used their Youth Tour connections and newfound knowledge of the electric industry to land jobs at electric cooperatives. Co-op jobs offer many of our future leaders the chance to work for organizations that make a difference in peoples’ lives, stay in their hometowns with family and friends, and advance in meaningful careers. Other alumni, featured in this year’s profiles, credit Youth Tour with influencing their career choices outside of co-ops—in politics, writing and business.

This issue’s history article brings the story of electric cooperatives to life via two alumni who told the tale of rural electrification through a man who remembers when the lights came on. It also shows how co-ops’ purpose to improve the quality of their members’ lives is just as relevant today as it was decades ago when co-ops were founded.

When Lyndon B. Johnson gave the speech in 1957 that inspired Youth Tour, he recommended that electric cooperatives send youngsters to see “what the American flag stands for and represents.” As the stories about Youth Tour in this issue show, the program does that—and so much more.

Best Regards,

Mike Williams
President/CEO
Texas Electric Cooperatives

 

Letter from TEC President/CEO Mike Williams

June 1, 2015

For 80 years, electric cooperatives in Texas and across the country have been doing what they’ve always done—powering communities and empower members to improve the quality of their lives. It’s that sense of purpose that has always guided cooperatives and their members.

The same sense of purpose is represented in the Government-in-Action Youth Tour. For the past five decades, electric cooperatives have been empowering young people to improve the quality of their lives, their communities and their futures by sending them to Washington, D.C., to represent their hometown cooperatives and see their American heritage.

In 1965, Texas Electric Cooperatives shepherded its first group of 58 young Texas men and women to Washington, joining their peers from across Co-op Country to meet with their congressional representatives to discuss important issues and broaden their view of the world.

Electric cooperatives have rich traditions and deep Texas roots. Our state is where the first co-op energized a home in 1936 using funds from the Rural Electrification Administration. It’s also the birthplace of President Lyndon B. Johnson, who, as a congressman, wrote in 1959, “I think of all the things I have ever done, nothing has ever given me as much satisfaction as bringing power to the Hill Country of Texas.”

With those remarkable ties between Texas and Washington, it’s no wonder Texas co-ops have such a tenured track record of sending young adults on Youth Tour.

Best Regards,

Mike Williams
President/CEO
Texas Electric Cooperatives

 

Letter from U.S. Rep. Randy Neugebauer

June 1, 2015

As a member of Congress, I am often asked questions regarding the future of our nation. While I believe we face many challenges, I am most optimistic about our future and the direction of our country when I visit with young men and women who have a desire to lead and serve. I have had the pleasure of meeting with Texas’ Government-in-Action Youth Tour participants at the U.S. Capitol, and I have always been impressed by the desire to get involved with our government and enter the public policy debate.

The Texas Youth Tour does an incredible job of sparking the development of our future leaders through educational and cultural development. As you continue to delve further into the history of our nation and get more involved in our government, the Texas Youth Tour will provide the foundation for you to flourish.

America prides itself in its diversity. We need an equally diverse Congress to represent the many cultures, ideologies and interests of the American citizenry. In Congress today, we have doctors, farmers, engineers, teachers, lawyers, accountants, military officers—just to name a few. Before I came to Washington, D.C., I ran a small residential construction and real estate development business in Lubbock.

There is no one clear path to becoming involved in government. I recommend you find something you enjoy—such as history—and become an expert in it. You can apply any field to serving your fellow Americans as long as you understand your fellow citizens’ needs and concerns.

I hope you continue to stay interested in politics and current events. Meeting with students participating in the Texas Youth Tour makes me confident that our country can remain prosperous and vibrant for generations to come. I hope to see you on your next visit to our nation’s capital.

Sincerely,

Randy Neugebauer
Texas Congressional District 19
R-Lubbock

 

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