As this article is posted, people in the United States are exercising their right to vote in federal, state and local elections. What does this moment mean in the context of the cooperative community and NCBA CLUSA?
It is a moment to reflect on our cooperative identity that holds, among others, the shared values of democracy and solidarity. That means that we cherish each person’s voice and, at the end of the day, understand that we are all part of one community with shared interests. For a co-op, that means the ability of every member to vote on the co-op’s leadership and strategic direction as well as the responsibility to serve not only its broader membership, but also the community.
In a national election, these values mean that everyone has the opportunity and is encouraged to vote for a government that keeps in mind the best interests of all of the country’s people. This is a time to remember the motto on the Great Seal of the United States: E pluribus unum—Out of many, one. Just as a co-op survives and thrives when its members are focused on the success of the co-op, this nation is at its greatest when we are focused on the common good.
No matter the results of the election, those public servants elected this November will be seeking to set their policy and legislative agenda in the next weeks and months. NCBA CLUSA is ready to work with the cooperative community to ensure policymakers understand how co-ops are the preferred strategy to empower people in their businesses and communities. Last month, NCBA CLUSA and the Cooperative Development Foundation released a new report from the Urban Institute called “Policy Strategies to Build a More Inclusive Economy with Cooperatives.” The report provides an overview of the role co-ops can play in building healthy, equitable and sustainable communities, and explains how federal, state and local policies can advance that work.
To continue this conversation, we are hosting a webinar on Tuesday, November 10 to consider what the election results might mean for the policy priorities of the cooperative community.
As the country seeks to heal the wounds of an uneven economy, racial injustice and deep societal discord, people will need to use every means necessary to meet these generational challenges. Now is the time for the cooperative community to step forward as a proven strategy to build an economy that is equitable and includes everyone.
Now is the time for the cooperative community to step forward as a proven strategy to build an economy that is equitable and includes everyone.
—Doug O’Brien is president and CEO of NCBA CLUSA, where he works with the cooperative community to deepen its impact on the economy.