To the editor: As a 33-year member of GVEA’s Board of Directors, including 10 years as its chairman, I would like to offer some comments on the upcoming election for the District 4 seat on that board. My comments are informed by experience that also includes 20 years on the board of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, (including two years as its president) and 30 years on the Denali State Bank board.
I’ve known both candidates for a number of years. Derek Miller was a legislative aide to Mike Kelly, former manager of Golden Valley, so he understands the way politics affects utility operations. His extensive management education and experience will bring needed skills to a board that sets policy for a complex system of energy production and distribution; labor and union relations; fiscal issues and hiring of the general manager.
I have also known Gary Newman for nearly all my tenure as a GVEA director, and indeed, he is well known to many of our members for his long-time advocacy of “green” power. I would say I disagree with 90% of Gary’s positions on politics, economic outlook, and his view of his role as a director at Golden Valley. Nationwide, utilities recognize that alternative energy results in higher costs for electricity, and particularly so in Alaska where we have a limited grid and extreme weather.
In my judgment Derek Miller will do a good job of looking out for all of Golden Valley’s member owners and have sent my ballot supporting him. If you have not sent your ballot, please do so before June 8.