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Director, Government Relations

Topeka, KS
Company:                         Kansas Electric Cooperative, Inc ["KEC"]
Department:                      Government Relations (GR)
Job Classification:           Full Time, Exempt
Work Schedule:               Generally, Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Ability to work extended hours when needed. Weekend hours may be required on occasion. Extended days often required during legislative session or while traveling, whether in state or out of state.
Reports to:                          Vice President of Government Relations and Legal Counsel
Key Working Relationships:
Internal: CEO, supervisor, all other KEC employees as needed
External: Local, State and Federal Policy Makers, Regulatory Authorities, Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC), Other Associations, Legal and Professional Consultants, Civic and Community Organizations; Public Officials; NRECA
Key Accountabilities:
The Director of Government Relations (Director) will actively advocate for the interests of KEC’s electric cooperative members at all levels of government, focusing primarily on electric co-op issues, and overall utility issues, as well as certain matters affecting rural Kansas. The Director will actively monitor and lobby state legislative issues daily during session and assist with outreach to the Kansas Congressional delegation. The Director plays a key role in the Government Relations team’s communications efforts and serves as staff lead for KEC ‘s grassroots policy engagement program Co-ops Vote. The Director supports the Kansas Committee for Rural Electrification (KCRE) Executive Committee and KCRE Executive Director in coordinating the political action committee’s activities. 
Major Duties:
  • Assist KEC Government Relations team in executing the department’s mission.
  • Monitor and review public policy proposals, identify potential consequences for electric cooperatives, recommend positions and strategies, and inform policymakers and the public regarding co-op positions on issues.
  • Serve as a registered Kansas lobbyist; actively lobby the state legislature; attend state legislative social functions; support GR team in federal advocacy efforts.   
  • Assist in developing and implementing legislative strategies in accordance with association direction and applicable state and federal ethics and laws.
  • Assist in planning and conducting advocacy events, including Kansas attendance at annual NRECA Legislative Conference, annual Day at the Capitol, DC Fly-In, annual Legislative Reception or other in-person, hybrid or virtual events.
  • Support efforts to promote political involvement of KEC and member systems through the implementation of KEC’s three-part advocacy program of direct lobbying, relationship building and financially supporting cooperatively minded candidates.
  • Help inform policymakers and the public regarding positions on issues.
  • Represent the company in trade association or industry events.
  • Collaborate with KEC’s GR and Communications teams on publications, presentations, and educational pieces developed in-house, such as newsletters, brochures, updates, reports, legislative summaries, and GR web content.
  • Prepare and deliver testimony or presentations before legislative, regulatory, industry, member, or community audiences.
  • Respond to member information requests.
  • Inform employees, board members, grassroots advocates, and the KEC membership on a timely basis regarding legislative or regulatory issues, lobbying activities, and other developments affecting the rural electrification program. 
  • Serve as a staff liaison to NRECA’s grassroots and government relations staff in conjunction with KEC’s grassroots efforts.
  • Serve as staff lead for the Co-ops Vote program, working with local co-ops to foster strong relationships with elected leaders and policymakers and expand grassroots advocacy involvement with co-op trustees, employees, and consumer-members.
  • Assist the KCRE (PAC) Executive Director in managing the PAC, growing participation, and advising the KCRE Executive Committee.
  • Monitor regulatory agency activities affecting electric cooperatives and advise GR team and management, consultants, and the member systems. Assist with preparing and/or submitting regulatory comments as needed. Serve as an additional contact with certain regulatory agency staff and assist in managing those relationships, as needed.
  • Serve as staff lead on Monarch butterfly conservation agreement with assurances (CCAA).
  • Provide general assistance to KEC staff and overall programming as needed including but not limited to annual meetings, training, and special events or projects.
  • If a licensed attorney, assist KEC’s Legal Counsel and General Counsel, including contract review, research, and filing of legal documents.
  • Other duties as assigned.
  • Must possess a current, valid Kansas driver’s license.
  • Must have at least three (3) years’ experience related to utility or association industry advocacy, lobbying, the Kansas Legislature, and/or work with government agencies
  • Must have excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Proven experience in effectively communicating with government and other officials.
  • Excellent collaboration skills with the ability to partner effectively within KEC, with cooperatives, utilities, associations, and policymakers.
  • Must be capable of accurately assessing needs, maintaining a calm business demeanor, taking quick action to resolve issues, and working under pressure.
  • Accuracy and attention to detail.
  • Ability to plan, organize, and follow through under strict deadlines.
  • Ability to operate computers and associated programs, including Microsoft 365 and become familiar with and utilize various software packages KEC uses at the level required to successfully perform the essential responsibilities of the position.
  • Must be able to meet people easily, communicate effectively, and earn employees' and members' confidence.
  • Must be able to work with all cooperative employees and diversified groups in the best interest of KEC and electric cooperatives.
  • Must believe in, be empathetic with, and be interested in furthering KEC’s objectives and member interests.  
  • Must be receptive to changes deemed necessary and suggestions from peers, supervisors or members.
  • Must possess the highest degree of integrity, pleasant disposition, tact, and capacity for confidentiality.
  • Must be able to handle a multitude of projects simultaneously while still performing quality work.
  • Ability to make decisions in the best interest of KEC regardless of the circumstances.
  • Must work independently, exercise judgment and act in accordance with KEC governance structures.
  • Provide excellent member service.
  • Devote needed attention to staying current on industry issues, trends affecting electric cooperatives and their consumer-members, and related legislative, regulatory, and political matters.
  • License to practice law not required but is a bonus.
Work Environment:
Most of the normal duties will be performed inside, which will involve almost constant interaction with other employees, members and/or the public with frequent interruptions. A substantial number of duties will be performed outside the KEC office, particularly during the Kansas legislative session.
Physical Demands:
While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to stand, walk, sit, talk, and hear. The employee frequently is required to use manual dexterity and often required to reach with hands and arms. The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 35 pounds. Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, peripheral vision, and ability to adjust focus. The employee must understand the need and be available for moderate in-state and occasional out-of-state travel by automobile or airplane.  Occasional overnight stays are necessary for attending meetings.
Additional Duties:
Additional duties and responsibilities may be added to this job description at any time. The job description does not state or imply that these are the only activities to be performed by the employee(s) holding this position. Employees are required to follow any other job-related instructions and to perform any other job-related responsibilities as requested by their supervisor or the CEO.

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