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‘Decisions based on cost, reliability, environmental goals’

John Purser

A few years back, I made the decision to attend or review La Plata Electric Association board meetings, and study the policies and actions of the board. Our electric co-op does a very good job at delivering dependable power at a stable price. LPEA has a hardworking, dedicated staff that understands their responsibility to deliver our electric power. I’m concerned about the obstacles that may be put in their path.

I was recently attacked in a guest column in The Durango Herald headlined, “Don’t ‘fall for Purser’s hysterical, untruthful claims.’ ” I was amused at the thought of being considered a hysterical liar. Please, read my candidate statement with care, and read Joe Lewandowski’s guest column. You’ll see that he put words in my mouth, then called me a liar. I stand by my candidate statement.

So why the attack from an LPEA board member? I’ve made governance central to my campaign, specifically transparency. The lack of public advertisement of vendor requirements, and the lack of public advertisements of purchase and contract requirements is an example of bad governance. Have I said there is corruption and improper monetary gains in LPEA? No. So why would a board member attack me over transparency? Special interests! “Special interests” imply policies favored by the few over the many. A lack of transparency enables policies to be implemented that are not in the best interest of all members. I will always point out policies that favor special interests over the general membership. I will work for the best interest of all members.

I agree that local control is important. I believe local control begins in your home or business. Local control is turning on the switch with an expectation of power and not being surprised by your bill. We currently have local control with dependable power and stable pricing. That is the local control that’s important to all members.

My opponent touts his 35-year experience at CPS Energy. CPS Energy failed at local control in the winter of 2021. Eight-hundred thousand customers were left without power. Monthly bills of up to $16,000 were incurred. Homes were left without heat. Dialysis clinics were left without power. Sixteen-plus wrongful death lawsuits have been filed. That’s not the local control we need.

Before any decision is made on a future power supply, questions must be answered. The questions and answers must be transparent to the membership. What will it cost to exit Tri-State? How will we maintain our connection to the Western Grid and what will it cost? Who’s providing our power? Will it meet our environmental goals? Once on the board, my decisions will be based on cost and reliability, while meeting our environmental goals. I will also do everything in my power to see that board decisions are made transparently.

Let me be your voice on the LPEA board. Vote “no” on the bylaw amendment. It’s not in the interest of members.

John Purser is a 19-year resident of La Plata County with degrees in economics and information science.