Trinity Valley Electric Cooperative has seven candidates running for three board seats this fall, and the mail-in ballots are due on Tuesday, Oct. 8. 

TVEC has 55,000 members and eight miles of electric lines serving six counties, explained Don Johnson, the co-op’s spokesman. 

“It’s a really serious role to have,” he said of the directors. “It’s not something they can do well just by showing up for a board meeting. We appreciate the members who are willing to serve.”

District 2 candidates are Gerald Becker and Jerry Priest. Candidates for District 6 are Kelli Krieg and Howard Tillison. District 7 has three candidates running, Robert Bass, David Lang and Jean Riggs. 

Directors are paid $600 per month, plus $150 for each day of service to the co-op, according to the TVEC website. The average compensation for a director is $11,485 annually. There are two long-time board members who receive health insurance from the co-op, which is from a grandfathered policy that was in place when TVEC was formed in 1997 by combining two rural co-ops based in Kaufman and Athens. Board members work about 31 hours a month on co-op issues, Johnson added. Ballots are available to all co-op members in this month’s issue of Texas Co-op Power magazine. Co-op members can vote for one candidate in each district. Each membership gets one vote, even if there are multiple meters on the property. 

Three of the candidates are campaigning via a facebook page, “TVEC: One calling for the board to have evening meetings and lower rates for members, as well as raising questions about capital credits given back to members. 

There is a blog and press releases about the election and other issues on the co-op’s website,

District 2 candidates

Gerald Becker has 35 years of fire department experience and is the president of the Kaufman Emergency Service District. 

“I have a real vision for the betterment of our community and the task of improving our services with better training, better equipment, increased manpower, more programs for members, and above all else a better service to our citizens,” he wrote in his candidate statement.

Incumbent Jerry Priest has been on the Kaufman County Electric Cooperative board since 1981, when the co-op had 12,500 meters. A farmer, rancher and businessman, Priest’s family operated Priest Store, and he owns Jerry’s Pizza in Canton. 

“TVEC is one of the fastest growing co-ops in the state,” he wrote. “I feel my time and experience on the board will benefit the co-op in the future. We are working with our power supplier in hopes of seeing a rate reduction in 2020.”

District 6 candidates

Kelli Krieg has worked in banking and insurance and owns a sign shop in Brownsboro. She writes articles and posts announcements for a facebook page about the co-op.

Incumbent Howard Tillison is a retired businessman and was elected to the TVEC board since 2007. 

“The electric supply grid is the most complicated business or machine in the world,” he wrote. “Right now it is in a rapid state of change and your TVEC Board of Directors along with a superlative organization is keeping abreast of the technical, regulatory and political changes that amass on a daily basis.”

District 7 candidates

Robert Bass worked in the oil and gas industry and industrial sales and runs a small sheep farm near Palestine. 

Incumbent David Lang is a former business owner who has served on the board for nine years. 

Jean Riggs is a professional speaker and consultant. She served on the co-op’s nominating committee in 2018. She is an administrator of the “One Voice for Choice” facebook page. 

Johnson urged all TVEC members to return their ballots in the mail, noting that four voting members will receive a $500 credit for their electric bill. According to TVEC bylaws, 3 percent of the members need to return their ballots for the election to be valid. All members should have their magazines by now, or will be receiving them in the mail this week, Johnson said. 

The co-op’s annual meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 10 at the Canton Civic Center. The board elections will be reported, and there will be information about the co-op’s goals, growth and financial performance. 

Booths at the meeting will provide information for members to learn about energy efficiency, TVEC educational and community outreach efforts. Co-op employees also will be on hand to meet with members and answer questions on anything from solar installations to the My TVEC smartphone app. More information on the annual meeting is at


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