CULLMAN, Ala. – Rep. Randall Shedd, R-Fairview was honored Friday morning after being named 2020 Alabama Rural Electric Association State Representative of the Year. A ceremony for Shedd took place at the Cullman Electric Cooperative, with Co-op CEO Tim Culpepper presenting Shedd the award.
Culpepper praised Shedd’s work in the Alabama Legislature, which paved the way for the Co-op to be able to offer Sprout Fiber Internet. Shedd sponsored House Bill 400, which, according to him, “authorizes electricity providers to use their existing and future power lines, rights-of-way and infrastructure to partner with companies to provide or expand broadband/telecommunications services or actually be in the business themselves.” The Broadband Using Electric Easements Accessibility Act was signed into law by Gov. Kay Ivey in 2019.
“The reason we’re here today is to award Rep. Shedd with the State Representative of the Year award from the Alabama Rural Electric Association,” said Culpepper. “We give this award every year, but it’s particularly this year that it goes to Randall, because he went to war for us in a battle more than, I would say, probably the biggest battle we’ve been in, in the last 20 years, more than 20 years! There were a lot entrenched interests that did not want the co-ops to be able to offer broadband service, because they had part of that business themselves. They did not want to offer it to rural areas, but they didn’t want us to do it either. There was a lot of opposition to the bill Randall sponsored and that he pushed through the (Alabama) House (of Representatives).
Culpepper said the Co-op literally couldn’t have done it without Shedd.
“He has gone above and beyond what would be expected of a representative and is well-deserving of this award today, and we’re just proud to give it to you (spoken to Shedd) and proud that you’re our representative,” he said. “I wanted to say that I wish we had a little bit more fanfare of an event to have this at, but it’s still well-deserved, and I want you to know how heartfelt we feel about what you’ve done for us.”
Shedd humbly accepted the recognition, saying, “Thank you to the Association. It’s special to receive this award in Cullman. Thank you very much from the bottom of my heart. It was a long day but an exciting day in the House, but we had a lot of people and organizations that saw the need and saw the difference it (bringing broadband to rural areas) would make. Gosh, it’s a great honor. As I mentioned it’s a little more special to receive it here in Cullman, even though it’s a statewide recognition, which I appreciate. A number of the co-ops across the state are already doing what Cullman Electric Cooperative is doing in central Alabama, and I hope to see all of them do that, the broadband. It’s so important to people nowadays.”
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