Choptank Electric Cooperative Presents
Distinguished Friend of the Electric Cooperative Award
to Legislators at Annual Meeting
DENTON – During Choptank Electric Cooperative’s Annual Meeting, two lawmakers from the Eastern Shore Delegation were presented with the 2020 Distinguished Friend of the Electric Cooperative award.
State Sen. Stephen S. Hershey Jr. and Delegate Sheree L. Sample-Hughes became the first Marylanders to receive the Distinguished Friend of Electric Cooperatives Award, sponsored by the Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives.
Hershey, who represents Senate District 36, and Sample-Hughes, who represents House District 37A, were cited for the leadership in passage of landmark legislation that will enable Choptank Electric to deliver broadband to members on the Eastern Shore. President and CEO of Choptank Electric, Mike Malandro presented the prestigious awards to Sample-Hughes at the Annual Meeting; Hershey received his in absentia.
“The Distinguished Friend of the Electric Cooperative Award was established in 2004 to honor legislators and regulators who have been forthright, dedicated, and vigilant in protecting the best interests of electric cooperative consumers,” explained Malandro. “This award is not given out every year and reserved for the most deserving recipients.”
It has been given out just 11 times since it was created in 2004. Hershey, the state Senate minority whip, and Sample-Hughes, speaker pro tempore of the House of Delegates, are the first Marylanders to receive the honor, and they are the 12th and 13th recipients of the award.
Passage of HB 999 was also made possible with the full support of the Eastern Shore Delegation,
county leaders, a strong community coalition, and Choptank Electric’s grassroots members. Speaker Pro Tem Delegate Sample-Hughes worked closely with Economic Matters Committee Chairman Dereck Davis of Prince George’s County to promote the bill. During the Committee hearing, she outlined the “desperate” need for high-speed internet access and presented HB 999 as “a local bill to solve a local problem.”
“We had serious work to do on this bill and we have a long way to go. But I know it is possible because we have come this far and we are going to achieve what we need to achieve,” said Sample-Hughes.
“Del. Sheree Sample-Hughes made clear that broadband for the Eastern Shore was a priority this
session,” explained Valerie Connelly, Vice President of Government Affairs and Public Relations for
Choptank Electric. “She leveraged her new leadership position in the House in a way that delivered
amazing results for her constituents.”
Senator Steve Hershey is a trusted and knowledgeable member of the Senate Finance Committee who is viewed by colleagues as an authority on utility issues.
“On the final day of session, Senator Hershey maneuvered the bill through his committee, worked a deal with House members, and then expedited floor calendars to get the amended bill back to
the House for final approval,” explained Matt Teffeau, Manager of Government Affairs. “It was
impressive to watch — and really meaningful for Choptank members.”
The Distinguished Friend of the Electric Cooperative Award, established in 2004, was created to honor legislators and regulators in the Virginia, Maryland and Delaware region who have been
vigilant in protecting the interests of electric cooperative members. During the 2020 Maryland
General Assembly, Delegate Sample-Hughes and Senator Hershey were able to guide HB 999 over
the finish line in a shortened amount of legislative time, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Their
leadership at committee hearings and the full chamber level led to HB 999 passing unanimously
in both the House and Senate.
About Choptank Electric: Choptank Electric, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative, is a not-for-profit, member-owned, electric distribution co-op located on Maryland's Eastern Shore serving over 54,000 members. Choptank Electric Cooperative exists to provide reliable and cost-effective electricity that improves the quality of life for our member-owners. For more information about Choptank Electric Cooperative, visit our website at www.choptankelectric.coop or call our Member Service Center at 1.877.892.0001.
About Touchstone Energy: The Touchstone Energy® brand represents a nationwide alliance of 751 local, consumer-owned electric cooperatives in 46 states.
The Virginia, Maryland, & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives: Headquartered in Glen Allen, Va., the Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives (VMDAEC) provides safety and training, communications and legislative services to 15 electric cooperatives serving the three-state Mid-Atlantic region. For more information on VMDAEC and the scholarship program, visit vmdaec.com or co-opliving.com.