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Fetterman wins over challengers in Empire Electric board election

Bob Barry also elected in uncontested race for District 2
Bob Barry, left, and Jerry Fetterman, right, were elected to serve four-year terms during the Empire Electric Association election Thursday. Audra Fahrion, middle, was appointed to the board in May to fill a vacant seat. (Jim Mimiaga/The Journal)

Incumbents Jerry Fetterman and Bob Barry were elected Thursday to serve four-year terms on the Empire Electric Association board.

District 1 had three candidates. Fetterman attracted 1,084 votes, or 45%. Challenger Craig Wickstrom had 814 votes, or 33%, and Allen Maez had 506 votes, or 21%.

Bob Barry ran unopposed for the District 2 seat and was reelected.

Election turnout was 18.5%, with 2,429 ballots returned out of the 13,100 sent out to members of the EEA cooperative, said Empire Electric Executive Secretary Shawna McLaughlin.

Fetterman has served on the board for 16 years. He also serves on the Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association board, which provides energy for Empire Electric.

“It feels great,” Fetterman said. “I will continue to represent members the best I can. This board has really good people.”

He has served as the board’s secretary/treasurer for the past nine years, and completed the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Director Gold Program.

In his candidate biography, Fetterman stated that he was “instrumental in changing our mission from providing power to our members to meeting our members electrical needs, a small but significant change.”

“Over the next four years, I hope to be the representative of you, our member owners, meeting your electrical needs,” Fetterman said. “During this period, Tri-State is planning on reducing its power rates by 4% and as a result will help Empire in reducing our rates.”

Barry was raised on a farm at Eastland, a rural farming community southeast of Monticello, Utah.

In 1986, he was elected to the San Juan Soil Conservation Board and served as chairman for 30 years. Barry has served on the County FSA Board for nine years, the Governor’s Utah Conservation Commission for 20 years and the Ag Advisory Board for six years. He was elected into leadership roles as vice president and president of the Utah Association of Conservation Districts and for the past eight years has represented Utah on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Conservation Districts.

In May, the Empire Electric Association Board appointed Audra Fahrion to serve as the District 3 Director. She has a background in finance.

Fahrion was selected from several members who applied to fill the director position left open by the passing of longtime director William “Bill” Bauer. She will serve the remainder of his term, which will end in June 2022.

Fahrion is a financial adviser with Edward Jones and has served in many leadership roles over her 20-year career with the company. 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.

After her appointment, Fahrion stated “I am honored to have been appointed as the District 3 director. Bill Bauer was a great man, and his shoes will be impossible to fill, but I hope to continue his example of leadership and care for our community. I have been actively serving our community most of my life and believe it is because of this community that I and my team have a successful practice. My goal for my time on the EEA board is to learn and be a voice for the membership. I am excited about this challenge and to step out of my comfort zone, to be able to develop my knowledge base, and to serve our community in a new role.”