I had to laugh at Rappahannock Electric Cooperative (REC) board member Darlene Carpenter’s letter in The Record asking REC members to vote to “re-elect” board member Gene Campbell Jr. Ms. Carpenter has been on REC’s board for 36 years. As she must know, Gene Campbell Jr. has never been elected to REC’s board. He was appointed to fill a vacancy a couple of years ago (www.myrec.coop/newsroom/Region_IX_Board_Member_Vacancy_Filled.cfm). Since this is Gene’s first REC board election, he can’t be RE-elected.

Perhaps Ms. Carpenter confused Gene with his father Gene Campbell Sr., who served on REC’s board for 34 years (richmond.com/obituaries/campbell-eugene/article_55cfb2c8-a831-5f34-9d6a-8268f4b651c3.html). And that apparent confusion is telling, because Mr. Campbell Jr.’s appointment following his father’s lengthy board tenure is an example of the cronyism that is all too common on REC’s board. Incumbent board members appoint friends or relatives of REC insiders to the board and all incumbents look out for each other so they can keep collecting generous pay for decades.

Cronyism doesn’t serve REC consumers well. Consumers deserve qualified, informed, independent board members who are willing to work hard and be accessible to all co-op members, not just a favored few good ole boys (and girls). That’s why I’m running for REC board in the election currently underway. My qualifications compare favorably with all the incumbents and I have shown the judgment and independence needed to look out for consumers’ interests, rather than board members’ personal interests.

I believe REC board members’ pay is too high. I’ll work to cut it by 25% and I’ll decline to accept 25% of pay until all board pay is reduced; that’s more money available to help keep our power bills low. If elected, I’ll be far more accessible than the current board, and I’ll work to get REC to catch up with other Southeastern electric co-ops in bringing broadband to rural people’s homes. Readers can learn more about me and the important issues facing REC at RepowerREC.com. If REC members have questions or concerns about the issues or about how to vote they’re welcome to get in touch with me at Seth4RECBoard@gmail.com. Fewer than 5% of REC members vote in the co-ops’s annual board elections. Let’s change that, and send a message that we want our co-op to serve us.

Seth Heald


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