Jim Gooch and Brandon Smith recognized for energy leadership

For their leadership on issues affecting the ability of electric cooperatives to deliver reliable electricity as efficiently as possible, two veteran lawmakers are the recipients of the 2023 Kentucky Electric Cooperatives Power Partner Award. 

Sen. Brandon Smith, of Hazard, and Rep. Jim Gooch, of Providence, received the awards October 19 in Lexington at a meeting of the managers of Kentucky’s 26 electric cooperatives. Co-ops serve about 1.8 million people in 117 of Kentucky’s 120 counties. 

“With the interests of local Kentuckians their priority, both Sen. Smith and Rep. Gooch are tireless in their advocacy,” says Chris Perry, president and CEO of Kentucky Electric Cooperatives. “As many new public officials take office, the leadership of these knowledgeable and conscientious legislators is invaluable.” 

In their respective roles as chairmen of the Senate and House Natural Resources & Energy committees, Smith and Gooch are consistent and articulate advocates for safe, reliable and cost-efficient electricity. In their long-term service and commitment to their constituents, both legislators have demonstrated diligence, staying up to date on the often complicated issues involving electric utilities. 

“This is an incredible honor and I appreciate the opportunity to highlight my commitment and the legislature’s work to ensure Kentuckians have access to reliable and affordable energy,” Gooch says. “I consistently hear from constituents, both individuals and businesses that are job creators. Energy is a fundamental priority for them. Simply put, it is a basic need. I value my partnership with the Kentucky Electric Cooperatives and look forward to continuing to work together to identify the best ways to provide our residents with the energy security they deserve.” 

“This award is truly humbling, and I can’t thank Kentucky Electric Cooperatives enough for their partnership in helping the General Assembly deliver a good energy policy to benefit Kentucky residents,” says Smith. “We as lawmakers should be laser-focused on the safety and security of our residents, and a big part of that is ensuring that Kentucky has adequate power generation to provide our residents affordable and reliable energy. I look forward to continuing to work with Kentucky’s electric cooperatives to identify legislative action that will provide the energy security our Kentucky families deserve and need.”