For the first time in more than a quarter century, a Co-Mo Electric Board of Director's name is not going to be on the ballot when his term expires.
Latham resident Bill Blankenship has decided to retire from the board after 26 years of service. His term will end at the cooperative's 74th Annual Meeting May 23 at Co-Mo's new Operations Center, 448 Richard Blvd., Tipton.
"When you ask people associated with Co-Mo to describe Bill, you get some words and phrases I think all of us would like to have said about them," said Co-Mo CEO/General Manager Ken Johnson. "Steady. Dedicated. A strong supporter of the membership. That's Bill."
In fact, no one on the board or associated with the cooperative can remember a time when Blankenship missed a meeting.
"That's a sign of his dedication," said Assistant Manager June Nivens. "Bill has been an absolute treasure to work with."
Blankenship's absence opens the door for one of two new candidates to be elected to represent the cooperative's third district. The Annual Meeting officially kicks off at 4:30 p.m. with a meal and various activities for kids and adults, including a health fair, bounce house, band and bucket-truck rides. The business meeting begins at 6:30 p.m., half an hour earlier than previous years.
Gene Eulinger Jr. is the first of the two candidates in District 3. The California resident said he is seeking a spot on the Co-Mo Electric Board of Directors because he has been a member for more than 28 years and wants to give back to the community. Now that he is retired, he said he has time to give. "It appears to me that rural electric cooperatives are facing a number of challenges such as government regulation, cost of production and materials and keeping up with technology," he said. "I feel I have the leadership skills necessary to deal with some of those issues."
He is opposed by Dennis Feezor, California. He said he is running because he has an interest in energy issues that are important to our economy. A farmer, Feezor served as president of the Missouri Cattleman's Board and executive committee and has been a High Point School Board member for six years. He is also on the Farm Bureau board and is a member of the High Point Community Renewal Association. He has a bachelor of science in agriculture/business. "I try to keep current on legislative issues and have served on a number of advisory committees," he said.
In District 1, Larry Schupp, Pilot Grove, is seeking re-election for his fifth and what he says would be his final term on the Co-Mo Electric Board of Directors. "I would like to be on the board when we finish our broadband project," he said. Schupp is the current Board Vice President and said that, if he wins, this would be his last term.
He faces Howard Shrout, Stover, who said he is running for a spot on the Co-Mo Electric Board of Directors because he is interested in serving his community. The attorney at law has a bachelor of arts and a juris doctorate degree from the University of Missouri and has practiced law for 21 years. "I would like to contribute my skills, experience and education to advance the best interest of the cooperative," he said.
In District 2, John Schuster, Tipton, is seeking re-election to a third term. He said he wants to serve the membership and help finish the Co-Mo Comm project and the Operations building and office renovation. Schuster said, "I take my position on the board very seriously, as I represent our members and I have a genuine respect and concern for the well being of our staff and employees." In his first three years as a director, he completed the credentialed cooperative director program and board leadership program.
Schuster is opposed by Marvin Hodges, Boonville. Hodges said he is seeking a spot on the Co-Mo Electric Board of Directors because he has always been interested in doing what he can to make a difference and now that he is retired, he has the time to contribute. He's a member of Second Chance and has served on the board of the National Wild Turkey Federation. "I work well with others to solve problems and obtain goals," he said.
Members can vote in each race, regardless of which district they live in.