Early next month, one of the United States’ most important events will occur. Americans on Tuesday, Nov. 6 will select the person who will serve us as president for the next four years.
Like the mainstream media, Electric Light & Power is covering this election. This issue’s cover probably tipped you off.
It’s virtually impossible to get through a day without hearing something about the presidential campaigns and candidates’ views on some issue. The candidates campaign little in my state because everyone knows who will win here. That means our radio and television airwaves aren’t filled with presidential campaign ads, for which I’m thankful. Those of you in swing or battleground states are no doubt inundated with campaign ads. I’m not sure if that means you’re more informed about each candidate’s views or if you’re simply more aware of their differences—even on unimportant issues.
The Republican and Democratic National Conventions provided an opportunity for us to learn more about each candidate and his platform. The economy—especially jobs—health care and foreign policy topped both candidates’ lists of important issues. In the past few weeks, protests and attacks against the United States in the Middle East have moved foreign policy up the list. Energy is on each candidate’s list, but not near enough to the top. Most energy talk centers on oil and gas exploration and production, but little is said about electric energy. Each candidate has an official energy policy, but seldom does either candidate give it top billing on the campaign trail.
That made Associate Editor Jennifer Van Burkleo’s assignment to write a feature article on the candidates’ energy policies more difficult than some past assignments, but it increased her resolve to find out as much as she could about Obama’s and Romney’s thoughts on energy. She discovered that the past four years have provided a fair amount of insight into Obama’s energy views. Many experts believe if he is re-elected, the next four years will look similar.
Romney, on the other hand, is more of an unknown. While governor of Massachusetts, he was a big proponent of energy efficiency. Some expect that to carry over into national energy policy if he’s elected. In addition, experts expect Romney as president to push for less aggressive EPA regulations, which would ease some of the pressure coal-fired generators are feeling. Romney has said keeping jobs in coal-producing states—a couple of which are considered battleground or swing states—is important to him. Romney blames Obama’s and the EPA’s harsh regulation of coal-fired power plants for lost jobs, but some experts, especially those on the opposite side of the aisle, say low natural gas prices are responsible.
You’ll find much more about the candidates on energy when you read Jennifer’s article, “In Opposite Corners—Obama, Romney Go Head-to-Head on Energy,” beginning on Page 18.
I want to mention one more important topic: the Utility CEO of the Year awards. Two years ago, Electric Light & Power magazine introduced these annual awards to recognize some of the exceptional people who hold the highest positions at electric utilities. These individuals are featured in the magazine’s January-February issue, as well as recognized at an awards dinner at the Electric Light & Power Executive Conference. We’ve extended the deadline for entries to Oct. 17, so please consider nominating your CEO or equivalent to be considered for this year’s awards. You may find details on our website, http://elp.com.
And please remember, despite all we’ve heard for months about our nation’s problems, the U.S. is a great place to live. I know several people who moved here from other countries for better opportunities, and they would love to vote Nov. 6 but are awaiting citizenship. I think that speaks volumes about our country, as well as our responsibility to take part in one of the greatest events in the world. Let’s be thankful in November and vote on Election Day.
Teresa Hansen, editor in chief