Entries by David Callis

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The Power to Be

You don’t have to look far to find news stories that speak to the decline of rural America: aging population, unemployment, opioids. It can be a depressing outlook. We see it firsthand; Tennessee ranks 46th in life expectancy as rural hospitals close their doors. Schools struggle to attract teachers and provide advanced academic opportunities. And […]


A Kinder, Gentler 2019

Last month, our nation did what we’ve only done a handful of times — said a final goodbye to a president. In ceremonies public and private, coupled with a national day of mourning, we celebrated the life of President George H.W. Bush. Reflecting on someone’s life provides a perspective that levels things out. It’s not […]

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October is Co-op Month

Cooperatives are, by any measure, a big deal in our state. From the Mississippi River to the Great Smoky Mountains, cooperatives improve the well-being of rural residents and communities across our state. They provide electric, internet and telephone services to homes, farms and rural businesses. They help Tennesseans secure financing for land. They offer products […]

Members are in control

In early April, Gibson Electric Membership Corporation held its annual members meeting. The cooperative’s board and management submitted an annual report to the  members. Bylaw and policy changes were proposed, discussed and approved by the membership who attended. This is a democratic process that will be repeated at all of our co-ops by the end […]


The theme for Tennessee’s electric cooperatives in 2017 is “Unified.” We’ve just completed one of the most contentious elections in our nation’s history, and this country is as divided politically as ever. With that backdrop, many of you gathered in Nashville in late November for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association’s annual meeting. There, we focused […]

Nine Hundred Words

The Washington Youth Tour essay contest rules are specific. Rule number 3 states: The short story should be no more than 900 words in length (including articles of speech); 800 to 900 words will make your paper competitive. One of the last things a high school student wants to do is write an essay. It […]


The cooperative difference

I don’t think we realize how much we benefit from the internet and the communications services it provides. Not that many years ago, companies debated whether they should invest in having an online presence. I know that because I was involved in those conversations. Today, you can go online to change your mobile phone’s data […]

Become a Co-op Voter

If you are a co-op director, every few years you ask people to vote for you. Here is a question for you – when was the last time you voted in a political election? As member-owned electric cooperatives, voting is already in our DNA. By holding membership meetings, it’s how we maintain electric utilities which […]

Dealing with polarization

We are several primaries into a presidential election year, and even the most experienced political observer seems astounded by the level of polarization that exists in our country. The right hates the left; Democrats distrust Republicans — you get the point. Depending on whom you ask, it’s obviously the other party’s fault. Armchair observers will […]


Supreme Court short-circuits Clean Power Plan

Last December, I let you know that America’s electric cooperatives were filing suit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), asking a federal court to prevent a rule called the Clean Power Plan from taking effect. The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) and 39 generation and transmission co-ops asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for […]