Little Rock, Ark. – Dec. 3, 2012 – The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas recently presented the third Sidney S. McMath Public Service Leadership Award to former 13-term U.S. Rep. John Paul Hammerschmidt, R. Ark.

“We are privileged to name Congressman Hammerschmidt as the third recipient of the Sidney S. McMath Public Service Leadership Award,” said Carmie Henry, vice president of governmental affairs for the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas. “His vision and leadership served the public interest in the same manner that Gov. McMath’s did in the early 1950’s.”

The Sidney S. McMath Public Service Leadership Award was created by the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas to recognize outstanding leadership by a public official that results in improvements to the quality of life of rural Arkansans. Gov. McMath’s unwavering support of the electric cooperative movement in Arkansas, along with his other accomplishments on behalf of Arkansans, set the standard for public service in Arkansas, Henry said.

“Because of my longtime relationship with and support of the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, it is my truly great honor to receive the prestigious Sidney S McMath award for public service,” said Hammerschmidt, who retired from Congress in 1993. “I accept it with deep appreciation for my longtime cooperative friends, but what makes it doubly rewarding is that it bears the name of one the most progressive and finest governors to serve our great state.”

According to Henry, Congressman Hammerschmidt’s support of America’s electric cooperatives was demonstrated many times with his votes on such legislative issues as funding of the Power Marketing Administrations and the Rural Utilities Service loan programs.

“On behalf of the Arkansas electric cooperatives he led the charge as ranking member of the House Committee of Public Works and Transportation to gain the approval of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for the licensing necessary to construct the three hydropower plants AECC has since constructed on the navigation locks and dams on the Arkansas River,” he said. “These run-of-the-river plants continue to serve cooperative members.”

Honorees are presented a statue of McMath that depicts his dedication to the electric cooperative movement. Rep. Marion Berry, D. Ark. and Arkansas Rep. Mike Ross, D. Ark. are the two previous award recipients.

The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas comprise 17 electric distribution cooperatives; Arkansas Electric Cooperatives Inc. (AECI), a Little Rock-based cooperative that provides various services to the distribution cooperatives; and Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. (AECC), a generation and transmission cooperative. The distribution cooperatives provide electricity to approximately 490,000 members, or customers, in Arkansas and surrounding states.

For additional information, contact:
Rob Roedel, Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, 501.570.2296 or