Three Candidates Seek SMPA District 7 Seat
by Gus Jarvis
May 15, 2009 | 2005 views | 0 0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Annual Meeting Set for June 6 in Ouray

OURAY – San Miguel Power Association’s power-purchasing members who reside in the cooperative’s District 7 can expect an election ballot in the mail for the available seat on SMPA’s Board of Directors. In the only contested race for an available board seat this year, Keith Meinert and Ben Tisdel are vying for incumbent boardmember Jerry Hoffer’s seat, who is seeking reelection.

Those who live in District 7 (Ouray and Silverton) can cast their vote by mail or by attending the SMPA annual members’ meeting on June 6 at Ouray Town Park where each candidate will be given five minutes to present their platform for running. SMPA directors serve four-year terms.

Hoffer, who has lived in Silverton since 1976, said he would like to see power generated by all practical methods.

“I want to keep our power rates as reasonable as possible,” he states in his candidate biography. He holds a bachelor’s of science degree in electrical engineering from Purdue University and is a current boardmember for the San Juan County Historical Society. “I have achieved the Credential Cooperative Director certification through the National Rural Electrical Cooperative Association. I was asked by the citizens of Silverton to seek reelection. I am a retired electrical engineer and I have time available to serve on the SMPA Board.”

Meinert has lived in Ouray for 10 years, holds a chemical engineering degree from Georgia Tech and sits on the Ouray Board of County Commissioners representing the county’s District 2. Meinert’s experience includes 30 years of working with Texaco primarily in natural gas, alternative fuels and power generation.

“I’m interested in serving on the SMPA Board because I feel my background in the energy industry and regulatory matters would be useful,” he states. “I am very interested [in] pursuing more renewable energy resources and in energy efficiency while keeping our rates affordable and our supply reliable.”

Tisdel states that he grew up in Ouray and returned four years ago. He holds a law degree from Sydney University and an economics degree from Georgetown University. His work experience includes grant administration, intellectual property litigation and tax law and he says that he will look at all sides of an issue.

“My background in law would be an asset to the SMPA Board,” Tisdel states. “I am trained to look at all sides of a question involving competing interests in order to come up with a comprehensive solution that balances the interests of all parties concern. SMPA has a great opportunity to seek out renewable sources of power while continuing its basic mission of providing safe and reliable power to its members.”

In addition to having the opportunity to meet the candidates at the June 6 annual meeting in Ouray, Becky Mashburn, communications executive at SMPA, said it will be a time for all members to meet their representatives and celebrate SMPA’s 70th annual boardmember meeting.

“If the members don’t know them, each candidate will be given five minutes to speak at the meeting,” Mashburn said in an interview on Tuesday. “It is also a good time to meet their boardmembers. A lot of people who live in rural areas don’t get to meet their representatives.”

Member registration will begin at 9 a.m. with the meeting commencing at 10 a.m. The director election will then be held where members within that district may place their vote. (If a member mails in a ballot and changes his or her mind at the meeting, they may change their vote if they wish.) Because there was only one nomination petition submitted for SMPA’s District 5, which encompasses Mountain Village, Lake Fork, Trout Lake, Ophir, and the Ski Ranches, Rube Felicelli will be elected to the SMPA Board.

Members attending the meeting will be treated to a complimentary lunch barbecue, dessert, bucket truck rides, children’s games, and energy efficiency exhibits.

“This is our 70th annual meeting and is a big celebration for us,” Mashburn said. “There have been a lot of changes in the industry. It is time to celebrate the progress we have made and the progress to come.”

For more information on the election or the annual meeting, contact Mashburn at 626-5549 or visit

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