Well, folks, it has been quite a year! The past 12 months have been a challenge that I had not anticipated when I became PNWER President in 2019. Despite all of the challenges, this has been a tremendous year--in good ways and tough ways--that brought PNWER to a new level. It highlighted the importance of the work we do here and the value of our relationships. I am proud of the way PNWER was able to land on its feet and quickly began working on strategies for safe economic recovery in our region by producing webinars for our working groups, hosting meetings with all levels of leadership, and continuing our tradition of information-sharing and collaboration.
While most of the year was taken up with COVID-19, PNWER did hold a number of in-person meetings with legislators and policymakers before March including successful visits to our state capitals, and Washington, D.C. Prior to the shutdown, I was invited by the White House to witness the signing of the USMCA, which was a great privilege on behalf of PNWER and all the work that we have done to get it passed!
Not one to let challenges like COVID stand in our way, PNWER worked with industry leaders and legislators throughout the year to apply for a number of grants focused on regional economic recovery. This undertaking showcased the collaborative can-do spirit of the region to find solutions to our pressing challenges.
I will repeat what I said last year that is just as true and important today, if not more so! Together, we are stronger and better, at all levels. We are a diverse group with many competing interests, personalities, and political factions, but we stand on common ground and share so much. PNWER attracts those who care about the region and who believe that our region grows better and stronger together.
Lastly, I am honored that the PNWER Board extended my presidency through 2021 which allows me to continue to serve the region as we work together to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. We are a resilient region, and I have no doubt that we will emerge from this crisis stronger than ever together!
Senator Mike Cuffe, MT Legislature
PNWER President 2019-2021