As the celebration of National Co-op Month continues, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the District of Columbia City Council joined the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives in passing resolutions recognizing October as National Cooperative Month 2020.
On October 15, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue signed a proclamation in recognition of Co-op Month. In addition, Deputy Under Secretary Bette Brand, the 2019 NCBA CLUSA Co-op IMPACT champion, shared a video recognizing the contributions of cooperatives to improving quality of life in communities and driving economic growth. In her remarks, she also highlighted the sustainability of cooperative businesses, “53 percent of all agricultural cooperatives are 75 years old or older. Fourteen percent are 100 years or older!” She also noted the important role of electric cooperatives, increasingly expanding their service to provide broadband, to ensure that local economies can remain competitive and member-owners can have greater educational and health care opportunities through broadband access. You can view Deputy Under Secretary Brand’s full remarks here.
At the local level, the Washington, D.C. City Council resolution not only recognized October as National Cooperative Month, but also celebrated 100 years of housing cooperatives serving District residents. The resolution was led by Councilmember Charles Allen and Councilmember Anita Bonds, who talked about her work supporting limited equity housing cooperatives at the 2019 Co-op IMPACT Conference. Councilmember Bonds also called for a taskforce on limited equity housing co-ops to improve and expand affordable housing opportunities in the District. You can view the policy recommendations from the taskforce here.
These two resolutions come on the heels of similar actions in the United States Senate and House of Representatives.
In the House of Representatives, the resolution was led by Congressional Cooperative Business Caucus Co-chairs Mark Pocan (D-WI) and Jim Baird (R-IN). The resolution was cosponsored by Representatives Rick Allen (R-GA), Ed Case (D-HI), Ro Khanna (D-CA), Ron Kind (D-WI), Michael San Nicolas (D-Guam), and Peter Welch (D-VT).
For the first time, a companion resolution as introduced in the Senate, led by Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) and John Hoeven (R-ND). Senators Smith and Hoeven were joined by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Joni Ernst (R-IA).