Sen. Lewis is Distinguished Friend of Electric Co-ops
State Senator Lynwood W. Lewis Jr. has been named the recipient of the 2020 Distinguished Friend of Electric Cooperatives Award by the Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives.
Lewis, who represents the 6th Senatorial District, was honored for his leadership and advocacy on issues important to co-ops and rural Virginia. He was instrumental in passage of landmark legislation that will improve the ability of electric cooperatives and their subsidiaries to deploy high-speed internet in unserved communities across the state.
“Thanks to the work of Sen. Lewis, electric cooperatives will be able to deploy broadband services at a time when access to the internet is more important than ever,” said Richard G. Johnstone Jr., President and CEO of the Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives.
“Sen. Lewis has truly distinguished himself as a friend of electric cooperatives and the member-owners we serve,” Johnstone added.
The Distinguished Friend of Electric Cooperatives Award honors legislators, regulators, and others in public service who have strongly supported the best interests of electric cooperative member-owners.
The award was announced Jan. 25 as part of the VMD Association’s annual Legislative Day, which was conducted remotely this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been given out previously just 13 times since its creation in 2004.
Lewis sponsored legislation in the 2020 General Assembly Session enabling co-ops to use some existing apportionable utility easements for the routing of fiber-optic cable. That change prevented potentially costly and protracted negotiations involving broadband projects.
“This new law will help to accelerate the deployment of broadband in those areas of Virginia that need it most,” said Andrew Vehorn, VMD Association vice president of governmental affairs.
The 6th Senatorial District includes the Eastern Shore counties of Accomack and Northampton, plus Mathews County and parts of Norfolk and Virginia Beach. Lewis has represented the district since 2014; he previously represented the 100th House District in the General Assembly for a decade. An Eastern Shore native, he resides in the Town of Accomac.
Headquartered in Glen Allen, Va., the Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives 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 www.vmdaec.com or www.co-opliving.com.