ORLANDO -- At the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association 64th annual meeting this week, CEO Glenn English praised a "select few" Americans -- the leaders and grass-roots activists of the nation's electric cooperative network.

He compared co-op support for balanced, effective energy legislation to the steady and reasoned leadership of great military and political leaders.

"The United States Marine Corps talks about a select few -- they're recruiting a select few. The reason that the Marine Corps has taken this approach is because they understand that it is a very few people who can spell the difference between victory and defeat," English said. "The electric cooperative program, when you think about it, over the past 70 years, we've seen a select few people who've spelled the difference between success and failure."

English told more than 10,000 rural electric cooperative leaders gathered in Orlando that their efforts made passage of last year's Energy Policy Act a reality.

"It's a select few who made it possible to defeat the forces of greed that were contesting us in a national energy policy. A select few made the difference. The 2005 energy bill is a great victory. It is worthy of celebration. It was won by you -- those special few."

English called upon attendees to build upon that victory and to inspire a new generation of cooperative leaders who will continue to fight for legislation that will benefit their customers across rural America.

NRECA is the national service organization representing more than 900 private, consumer-owned electric cooperatives, which provide electric service to more than 39 million people in 47 states.

SOURCE: NRECA via AgNewsWire.