Every year, WEC’s membership elects three fellow members to serve on the Co-op’s nine-seat Board of Directors. The members who serve in these critical roles oversee management and staff and make policy and leadership decisions for the member-owned electric utility. Three incumbent Directors are running for re-election in 2023: Don Douglas of Orange, Treasurer; Jean Hamilton of Plainfield; and Mary Just Skinner of Middlesex, Secretary. Candidates may continue to enter the race until the March 5 final deadline.
In this issue of Co-op Currents, all known candidates introduce themselves to members. In the following Annual Meeting-themed issue, candidates may expand on their introductory statement in answers to policy questions.
How to vote
In 2023, voting will take place by mail and in person. In April, members will receive a packet containing your ballot for the Board of Directors election and the Annual Meeting issue of Co-op Currents. Check the deadline to post your votes by mail. WEC members may write in names of unofficial candidates. All candidates run at-large.
WEC will hold its Annual Meeting on Thursday, May 4, and members will be able to submit their ballots in person.
I live in East Orange at 21 Douglas Road. I have lived here since 1980. I have been a
Co-op member since 1978. I retired a few years ago after working for the Postal Service
as a rural letter carrier for 37 years. I delivered mail in parts of Topsham, Corinth,
Orange, Washington, Newbury, and Bradford. I can be reached at home at 439-5364 or
by email at email@example.com. I am always happy to talk about WEC and energy
issues in general.
I was recently appointed the Vermont representative to the national board of the NRECA
[National Rural Electric Cooperative Association] which represents more than 900
electric co-ops in 48 states. It is an honor to represent Vermont on the national level and
it’s quite an education hearing about the issues and solutions from all across the
country. I have served on the WEC board since 1999 and have served as Board
Treasurer since 2000.
I have been involved in co-ops nearly my entire life. My hometown in East Tennessee
was served by the TVA and got its electricity from hydroelectric, coal, wind, nuclear and
solar. In college I joined and helped start food co-ops and even a garbage co-op that
was making compost in Austin, Texas. Here in Vermont we started the Sugar Maple
Cooperative Nursery School in 1984. Co-ops exist to serve a need. More than 50% of
the United States did not have electricity before the creation of the REA in 1937. WEC
serves the most rural, the most difficult terrain in Vermont because there is less money
to be made serving us. Despite the challenges of weather and geography, WEC supplies
reliable renewable energy to our more than 11,000 members.
I have been a WEC member from Plainfield since 2014 and a member of the WEC Board since 2017. Members are welcome to contact me by phone 802-777-6546 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since moving to Vermont in 2000, I have worked in sustainable agriculture and the local food system. My career in farming and food systems has helped me hone the skills and perspectives that I bring to the WEC Board. Food and energy are similar in that they are essential resources with large environmental impacts moving through highly complex market systems. I am a nuanced and strategic thinker and am committed to designing community solutions that prioritize healthy communities. Within the energy sector, my vision is 100% aligned with WEC’s values: Provide energy from clean reliable sources, help members meet their energy needs as efficiently as possible, operate safely and reliably, and cultivate community in all that we do.
I am running for the Board because I love this organization, I love this community, and I want to use my skills to make it easier for you to affordably and renewably meet your energy needs. Climate and market instability is pushing and pulling our Cooperative in different conflicting directions. Now is time for all of us members to lean in, engage in honest dialogue, and courageously imagine the energy future we want to build together.
I hope I have a chance to keep working with the Board, staff and member-owners to advance weatherization initiatives, innovative distributed energy programs, and a community culture of care.
MARY JUST SKINNER
I have lived in Middlesex since 1977. I have been a WEC member for 46 years, and before then I was a Vermont Electric Co-op member for 7 years. I was married for 49 years when my husband Scott passed away in 2018. We have two sons and daughters-in-law with three grandchildren. I can be reached at 223-7123, 636-7592 (cell), and by email at email@example.com.
I graduated from Barnard College and earned my law degree at Columbia University. I was a practicing attorney in Montpelier from 1972 until recently. I worked for Vermont Legal Aid for four years and then opened my own law practice in 1978. My practice primarily involved family law, real estate, and probate, but earlier I was involved in a number of utility cases. I represented a group of low-income Vermonters in what was known as the “purchased power” case in 1974 which went to the Vermont Supreme Court. We won. That meant utilities could not automatically increase rates without the then Public Service Board’s approval.
I have been a member of the WEC Board for 11 years. I’m a WEC officer, Secretary. I serve on three committees: Chair of Power and Operations, Finance, and Policy. I served on the Community Fund committee until recently. I was a member of the Middlesex Select Board for 24 years until March 2022, the last thirteen as Vice Chair. I also served seven terms in the Vermont State Senate, including a period as Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, which handles utility legislation. I am a member of the Vermont Human Services Board, having been appointed by two governors. The Board hears appeals from Agency of Human Services decisions.
I’ve enjoyed serving on the WEC Board. I would be honored to serve another term. If re-elected, I will bring the expertise I have acquired to the important decisions WEC faces in this rapidly changing world.