2020 Director Election
Cooperative members may vote for one director in each district, regardless of which district you live in.
Official ballots were mailed the week of July 27th. Members have three options for voting - by mail, online, or in-person at the annual meeting on August 12, 2020.
Paper ballots must be received by Survey and Ballot Systems in Eden Prairie, MN, no later than August 12th, so please mail in plenty of time.
Online voting opens at 8 a.m. July 27nd and will close at 9 a.m. on August 12, 2020. Members may follow the instructions on their ballot, visit https://www.directvote.net/Beltrami/, and enter the code found on the back flap of their blue"Business Reply Envelope" to cast their vote online. Members who have provided the co-op with a valid email address will also receive an email with a link to vote online.
Vote in Person
Members will have the opportunity to vote in person at the annual meeting on August 12, 2020.
District 2 Candidate
Donald (Charlie) Perkins, Sr. (Incumbent)
More about Charlie
Charlie is a lifelong resident of Red Lake. He is a maintenance worker at the Red Lake Hospital, where he performs preventative maintenance on HVAC, as well as various electrical work on items such as generators, high voltage circuits, power meters, etc. He is a graduate of Red Lake High School and completed the 2-year carpentry program at the Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Detroit Lakes, MN. He also attended Bemidji State University for Industrial Technology. Charlie enjoys spending time with his three children and two grandchildren. He also enjoys hiking, camping and target shooting.
What qualifications do you possess that would make you a good choice to represent the members of Beltrami Electric on the Board of Directors? “I am proud to continue in my family’s footsteps, extending our commitment to the members of Beltrami Electric Cooperative. I have served on the Beltrami Electric Board for 3 years; my sister, Lea Perkins, served on the board for 12 years, and previously my father, Ed Perkins, served on the board for 8 years. I am passionate about my community, family and friends. I am able to utilize my 30+ years of knowledge and electrical experience to help educate and explain energy usage to our members. I will continue to work hard for the members of the cooperative, providing reliable and affordable electric service to our area.”
What do you feel are the most important issues facing the Cooperative? “Carbon legislation, increasing costs to maintain reliability and keeping up with technology.”
District 4 Candidate
Craig Gaasvig (Incumbent)
More about Craig
Craig has lived in the Bemidji area his entire life, of which the past 20 years have been in Port Hope Township. He has been a regional account manager with North Country Business Products of Bemidji for more than 26 years. Craig is a graduate of Bemidji State University with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, along with a secondary education licensure. He also holds a power limited technician license. He has served as supervisor of the Port Hope Township Board for 12 years. Craig was a Ducks Unlimited committee member for 10 years, serving in many roles, including treasurer. He also serves on the Bemidji Rural Animal Control Organization (BRACO) board, which is a group formed by townships to manage animal control outside of the city limits. Craig is currently a Beltrami County Commissioner, representing District 1. Craig and his wife Karen have two sons, James and Jonathon. He is an avid walleye fisherman and enjoys hunting, fishing and traveling.
What qualifications do you possess that would make you a good choice to represent the members of Beltrami Electric on the Board of Directors? “I take responsibility seriously. That means I show up on time or early for meetings, having studied the material ahead of time to make informed decisions in the best interests of our members. I have served over three years on the BEC board and have only missed one board meeting which was due to a family vacation. I genuinely care about the people and the area we live in and I look forward to continuing to serve you, the members of the cooperative.”
What do you feel are the most important issues facing the Cooperative? “Aging infrastructure of our Generation & Transmission (G&T) plants and the political pressure to close coal fire facilities. With approximately 70 percent of our costs coming from Minnkota Power Cooperative, any major change on that front will have a major effect on our cooperative. The push for “green” energy and energy conservation mandates will increase costs and the rates for the members of Beltrami Electric. I will work to keep our mission statement as my directive: To provide excellent value to our members through the safe delivery of reliable electric service, excellent member service and innovative energy solutions at fair and reasonable prices.”
District 6 Candidate
Rick Coe (Incumbent)
More about Rick
Rick has lived in the Bemidji Area for 47 years and resides in Northern Township. He has been a member of Beltrami Electric for more than 37 years. Rick retired from the Bemidji Public Schools where he was employed as a teacher, counselor and coach. Coe has a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and general science and holds a Master of Science degree in guidance counseling from Bemidji State University. For 31 years he coached all levels of youth hockey and baseball and has also served as a board member with these sports. Rick has been active in various committees within the Bemidji community and at his church. Rick is also a member of the Knights of Columbus and has served on the KC board. He has served on the board for District 6 since 2008 and has been the board chair since 2011. He and his wife, Mickie, have three grown children and five grandchildren.
What qualifications do you possess that would make you a good choice to represent the members of Beltrami Electric on the Board of Directors? “I have served as a Director of Beltrami Electric Cooperative (BEC) for 12 years and I am currently the board chair. I also serve as a Director on the Minnkota Board (our generation and transmission co-op) and the Minnesota Rural Electric Association (MREA-our statewide co-op). I have gained a great deal of knowledge and experience from serving on these boards. I care about our members and feel they deserve great service not only from BEC, but especially from the Board of Directors. I promise to be visible and reachable to serve BEC’s members to the best of my ability.”
What do you feel are the most important issues facing the Cooperative? “Our members want clean, affordable and reliable electricity. I am committed to serve our members and make BEC the best it can be. I would like BEC to be the “Go-to Co-op” for all of our members’ electricity needs. Co-ops currently face many issues, such as loss of local democratic control, mandates, costs of electricity and environmental responsibility for energy production.”
District 4 Candidate #2
More about Valerie
Valerie has lived in Northern Minnesota most of her life and in Bemidji for the past 18 years. Valerie is a professor at Bemidji State University, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate business administration courses both online and on-campus. Valerie holds a PhD in business administration with a management specialization from North Central University, a Master of Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, and a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Central Michigan University. Valerie has been a board member for Anderson Fabrics since 2015, as well as being an ESOP Trustee for Anderson Fabrics since 2016. She has served on BSU’s Career Services Advisory Board since 2018 and on Lake Country Human Resources Association’s board since 2012. Valerie is a licensed foster care parent in Beltrami County. She has two sons, Josh and Justin, and she enjoys fishing, motorcycling, 4-wheeling, traveling, biking and walking.
What qualifications do you possess that would make you a good choice to represent the members of Beltrami Electric on the Board of Directors? “I understand our community needs and have a strong desire to serve the cooperative members’ best interests. I have experience on other boards and am active in our community. Teaching many different business administration courses has given me a unique perspective into the complexities of business. I would bring a diverse background, new perspectives and ideas to the cooperative. I have experience working in the following industries: higher education, healthcare, manufacturing, home healthcare, banking, elementary and secondary education.”
What do you feel are the most important issues facing the Cooperative? “The complexity that the energy industry will be facing, including managing costs while providing clean energy is one of the most important issues facing the cooperative. Continuing to maintain affordable, safe, quality, reliable, innovative services for the diverse member population of northern Minnesota is also important and will ensure the long-term success of the cooperative while adapting to changes such as legal, markets, and trends in the electric industry.”