Electric Cooperative Trustees Gear up for Annual Election

Ballots for Flathead Electric Cooperative trustee elections have gone out to members and are due by April 10

By Justin Franz

Five people are vying for three open seats on the Flathead Electric Cooperative’s board of trustees.

Nine trustees help govern the Kalispell-based electric cooperative for three-year terms. This year, elections are being held for District 2, which includes the Lower Valley, Cooke City and Elk Basin; District 3, which covers Whitefish, Big Mountain and Olney; and District 5, which covers North Kalispell. According to cooperative communications director Wendy Ostrom-Price, ballots go out to all cooperative members, about 49,000 people, although some get more than one because they have more than one electric meter. Ostrom-Price said the cooperative usually gets about 5,000 ballots back.

“We always encourage our members to attend the annual cooperative meeting, to read the newsletter and to reach out and talk to their district trustees,” Ostrom-Price said. “It’s always good to be engaged.”

Ballots must be received by JCCS Accounting at 5 p.m. on April 10. Each ballot comes with a postage paid envelope to JCCS, PO Box 9047, Kalispell, Montana 59904. The results will be announced the following week on April 16, during the board of trustees meeting.

In District 2, representing the Lower Valley, incumbent Emery Smith is taking on Muffie Thomson. Smith has been on the board since 2003 and currently owns and manages Computer Connections in Kalispell. In the past, he was a senior design engineer for the Columbia Falls Aluminum Company and also worked at Fairchild Industries.

Thomson has worked in banking for 40 years and has been president of the Flathead Bank of Lakeside since 1994. She currently chairs the Flathead Hospital Development Company board. She is also the founding director and treasurer of the Lakeside Community Development Foundation.

In District 3, representing Whitefish and the surrounding area, Jay Downen is running unopposed. In the past, Downen has served as the CEO and general manager of the Montana’s State Association of Electric and Telephone Utilities.

In District 5, incumbent Alan Ruby is taking on Sheri Glaspey to represent the North Kalispell area. Ruby has been on the board for 13 years and has been an officer on the board for four years. He owns three areas business, including Alan’s Wallcovering, the Hungry Horse Liquor Store and the Hungry Horse Mini-Storage. He is also currently on the Flathead County Solid Waste Board and past president of the Montana Electric Cooperatives Association.

Glaspey has been an educator in the Flathead Valley for 34 years and is currently a board officer of the Happy Valley Water District, a position she has held for five years.

For more information about the cooperative and the election, visit www.flatheadelectric.com.