Rural Friends/ACRE is a non-partisan political action committee (PAC) that helps supporters of electric cooperatives who are seeking a seat on the Texas Legislature or to the U.S. Congress. It operates under the guidelines and policies of a board of directors composed of electric cooperative leaders from around the state. The national affiliate is the Action Committee for Rural Electrification (ACRE).
The membership consists of co-op members who help defend their local electric cooperative and care enough to contribute to the progress and growth of their cooperative and the communities it serves.
Contributions go to candidates for state and federal office who have demonstrated support for electric cooperatives. Support is based on their voting records on legislation affecting electric cooperatives, their statements on cooperative issues and their historical stance on those issues. Rural Friends contributes to state office candidates and ACRE – the Action Committee for Rural Electrification – contributes to candidates for the U.S. Congress.
Decisions to support a candidate or incumbent are made on the basis of that individual’s record on rural electrification, not on the basis of political party. In Texas, both democratic and republican legislators are supported and Rural Friends/ACRE is subject to all state and federal campaign finance laws and reporting requirements.
The PAC has had much success and so far, there have been several favorable legislative outcomes for cooperatives.
Aside from raising money, Rural Friends is also a grassroots effort that encourages political participation at the local level. The power of constituency means voters can voice their opinions to local leaders. Individuals who come together as a group speak with a louder voice and gain greater access to the process.
Members of Rural Friends encourage others to get to know their local elected officials and attend town hall meetings, fund-raisers and legislative days. The more active and involved citizens are in the community, the more responsive their officials will be to their needs. Supporters of Rural Friends say citizens should keep in touch with their officials and not wait until they have a problem to pick up the phone and call.
Membership in Rural Friends/ACRE is open to all people with an interest in preserving their local electric co-ops and promoting the progress and growth of co-ops and the communities they serve.
The PAC belongs to its members just like electric cooperatives belong to their members.
What is a PAC?
The law allows individuals with common interests to pool their resources using 329 PACs in order to make political contributions to candidates for state and federal office. Candidates who receive a substantial contribution get an important message about the members in their local community's electric cooperative. The candidate knows that the electric cooperative member/owners and employees who support them want to elect individuals to office who will make good policy decisions on their behalf.
Who Determines How Contributions are Made?
Rural Friends/ACRE follows established procedures for making contributions to candidates running for political office.
Factors that determine financial support include:
the candidate's position on issues critical to electric cooperatives;
their votes and public statements on these issues;
the candidate's financial need and the strength of his or her opponent.
The candidate's political affiliation is never taken into account.
How Do I Make a Difference?
The dedication of members to stand together forms the backbone of Rural Friends/ACRE. This powerful grassroots effort promotes policies to secure the future of the electric cooperative, its employees, and the families they serve. This is an opportunity to make a huge difference.
For more information about Rural Friends/ACRE, simply write: Rural Friends, 2550 S. IH-35, Austin, TX 78704.