PUD commissioner named chair of national public power council

by Rachel Hansen | Jul 21, 2020

Chelan PUD Commissioner Randy Smith was named chair of the Policy Makers Council, a group that advocates before Congress on behalf of more than 2,000 public power utilities nationwide.

“I always focus back on how this is going to impact us at home,” Smith said. “We all have common issues that impact us here on a local level. I believe we’re stronger as a group than we are as individuals.”

The Policy Makers Council, an affiliate of the Public Power Association, is comprised of 45 elected or appointed governing officials from communities around the country. Twice a year, the council meets in Washington D.C. to advocate on issues such as the Columbia River Treaty, grid security, and the federal power program. Smith joined the council 8 years ago.

“Washington state is a dominant player as one of the top producers in the nation for public power,” Smith said. Washington accounted for 28% of the nation’s hydroelectricity generation in 2018, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

During the one-year chairmanship, Smith will serve as spokesman for the Policy Makers Council to the media and to the American Public Power Association’s Board of Directors.

A longtime orchardist, Smith traces his leadership roots back to a training program for agricultural leaders in the late 1980s.

“I emerged from that intense two-year program with an awakening of what I could do to make a difference in our world, and make our lives better here in Chelan County,” Smith said.

Smith has served as a Chelan County PUD commissioner since 2006. He represents District 2, which includes Lake Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere and Number 2 Canyon. Smith also has served as president of the Washington Public Utility District Association (2019-2020) and president of the Council for Agricultural Research Extension and Teaching (2008-2009).

“I never cease to be honored and inspired by being asked to lead,” Smith said.

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