(Cooperative Connections, Nov. 2019, Vol. 20, No. 7)

In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) that, by the flip of a switch, lit up the rural frontier. After being rejected by private utilities, the REA's low-cost loan provision prompted establishment of rural electric cooperatives, which provided affordable, reliable, rural electric access that sparked economic and cultural transformation, and created a key conduit for continued rural vitality through focusing on people, communities, and energy innovation. 

"It's Coming For You" (Association of  Electric Cooperatives, c. 1937)

"Rural Electrification Administration co-op office. Lafayette, Louisiana. 1939" (Sakaer, National Archives)

 "Rural Electrification Admin. (REA): lineman         working on pole as farmer watches."       (FDR Presidential Library and Museum, 1936)

"Rural electric co-ops probably caused the biggest cultural [transformation] in the history   of rural America because it just so totally changed lives." 

-Orion Samuelson, Hall of Fame Agricultural Broadcaster (Illinois State Museum Society Interview, 2 Feb. 2009)