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Empire Electric election and annual meeting is today

Cooperative members voting in candidate for District 3 board seat; annual meeting begins at 5:30 p.m.

Empire Electric Association will announce results of its board election at the end of its annual meeting tonight.

One board seat is open. The candidates for the District 3 seat are incumbent Audra L. Fahrion and challenger Corey Robinson. The term is four years.

Ballots can still be dropped off at the Empire Electric office at 801 N. Broadway, by 4:30 p.m.

They can also be dropped off from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the annual meeting location at the Engineering and Operations Center, 23999 County Road L.4. If you forgot your ballot or lost it, blank ballots will also be available at the operations center to fill out and turn in.

All co-op members can vote in the election. Members are residents who have the electric service in their name.

Election results will be reported at the end of the annual meeting, held at Empire Electric’s Engineering & Operations Center at 23999 County Road L.4.

Empire Electric will holds its annual meeting a its Engineering and Operations Center at 23999 County Road L.4.

There were 13,229 ballots sent out to Empire Electric co-op members. Members can vote for the District 3 candidate regardless of which district they live in.

As of noon, 2,521 ballots had been returned, which is 19% voter participation, said Empire Electric Executive Secretary Shawna McLaughlin.

The annual meeting will feature reports on Empire Electric’s operations and future plans. Meeting registration is from 4:30 p.m., to 5:30 p.m.

Speakers include Empire Electric General Manager Josh Dellinger, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association CEO Duane Highley, Empire Electric Board Vice President Kent Lindsay, and attorney Tyler Benning.

There will be door prizes, including an electric chain saw donated by Tri-State.

Empire Electric’s 2021 annual report is available on its website at www.eea.coop

Board members help manage the electric co-op, an energy distribution system that provides service to Montezuma and Dolores counties and southeast Utah. Tri-State is the energy provider.

Empire Electric board members review and approve policies and analyze projects and rates during monthly meetings. Board members receive a base pay of $1,000 per month, plus $150 for attending additional meetings.

The two candidates for the District 3 board seat are:

Audra Fahrion
Audra Fahrion

According to a candidate bio, Fahrion is a lifelong resident of Cortez and a graduate of Montezuma-Cortez High School. She has served on many local boards including the Southwest Softball Association, Hospice of Montezuma and Kiwanis and is an active member of Beta Sigma Phi.

“I have been actively serving our community most of my life,” she stated after her appointment last year.

Fahrion works as a financial adviser with Edward Jones. She studied business and finance at the University of Phoenix and holds Series 7 and Series 66 financial licenses as well as a Life and Health Insurance license.

Local support for her business has been key to its success, she said.

“I believe it is my obligation to give back to this community. I have been on the Empire Electric Board for a year, and it has been a great learning experience for me,” Fahrion sated. “I hope to be able to serve four more years with the opportunity to continue to serve this community, further my knowledge in the electric world, and represent District 3.”

She and her husband, Robert, a local emergency responder and paramedic, have two children and two grandchildren.

Corey Robinson
Corey Robinson

Corey Robinson is a cinematographer and director from Cortez who specializes in outdoor, cultural and science films.

In a candidate bio, he describes himself as an energy nerd, business owner and soon to be father.

“I am running for a seat on the Empire Electric board because I’m passionate about our community, the energy world and our electric co-op,” Robinson sated. “We are blessed with a fantastic electric cooperative, which has provided reliable, affordable power to our homes for decades.”

He supports decisions that ensure energy independence for the community “that is free from the ever-changing political winds in Denver and Washington, D.C.”

Robinson notes that all around Colorado, electric co-ops are changing the way they generate and deliver electricity.

“We can’t assume the way our power was generated thirty years ago will be competitive in the marketplace 10 years from now,’ he stated. ”I envision a co-op where the benefits of energy production stay here with our members, lowering prices and creating stable, well-paying jobs.”

His goals are to secure reliable and affordable energy for all members.

“During this time of rapid change, we need someone who will seek new solutions that work for our unique area,” Robinson stated.