Durbin, Duckworth Meet With Association Of Illinois Electric Cooperatives

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), a member of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee, and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth today met with Craig Sondgeroth, President of the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives (AIEC), and their members who represents 25 different distribution co-ops and five generation/transmission co-ops that serve most of Illinois.  During their meeting, the Senators spoke about the $2.3 billion in federal funding, provided by Congress in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and the 2022 Consolidated Appropriations Act, for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) ReConnect program to expand broadband into rural areas.  Durbin and Duckworth also encouraged the co-op leaders to apply for the Inflation Reduction Act’snew USDA program that will provide $9.7 billion in grants and loans for co-ops to purchase or construct new renewable energy generation and transmission to achieve major carbon reductions in the power sector. 

“Every rural community should have reliable access to speedy broadband and renewable energy sources, and electric co-ops are working to achieve that goal,” Durbin said.  “Senator Duckworth and I had a productive meeting with the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives today to talk through how we can ensure the federal government remains a strong partner with electric co-ops in expanding broadband and affordable clean energy to rural Illinois.” 

“Clean energy has the potential to encourage job growth, protect our environment and secure Illinois’s leadership in the energy sector for years to come,” said Duckworth. “I was glad to meet with Illinois Electric Cooperatives today with Senator Durbin to discuss the impact of increased funding for clean energy initiatives in rural communities, as well as how we can continue expanding rural broadband access to reach more rural families and keep utility costs down. We also discussed the critical role domestic manufacturing and workforce play in this transition to a greener economy.Thanks to historic support from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act, I’m proud to see how families across the state will benefit and I will continue to work for them." 

Photos of the meeting are available here.