Congressional candidate visits with co-op directors

Congressional candidate visits with co-op directors

Bryan Steil, Republican candidate for Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District, visited with Rock Energy Cooperative directors at their board meeting on Wednesday.

Shane Larson, the co-op’s chief executive officer, started the session by providing a brief history of the co-op. Then Beata Wierzba, director of government relations for the Wisconsin Electric Cooperative Association, talked about federal issues facing co-ops.

Bryan Steil with board of directors

Steil thanked directors for inviting him to the meeting and providing him an opportunity to learn more about the co-op. His Democratic opponent in Tuesday’s election, Randy Bryce, also was invited to the meeting but did not attend.

Steil emphasized the importance of keeping energy prices affordable and producing energy domestically. “Most people misunderstand the importance of domestic production of energy,” he said.

When asked about his position on exporting natural gas, he said, “If there’s an ability to export natural gas, I would support it as long as it doesn’t drive up energy prices.”

In response to a question about technical training for lineworkers, Steil said it’s important to start teaching technical skills at the high school level. Federal funding needs to be available to allow local control over what technical skills are taught in the high school setting.

If elected, Steil said he would consider energy policies like fracking and a carbon tax by asking: “Does it allow us to have affordable energy in the United States?” Good environmental policies also need to be considered, he added.