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Chris Mele is the legislative director for energy issues for the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. He is responsible for NARUC's legislative advocacy regarding energy issues in Washington, D.C. Chris has been a government and government affairs professional for more than 20 years. His career includes staff positions with U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the 1988 Presidential Campaign of George H.W. Bush, the Pennsylvania State Senate and the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Chris also spent 10 years as the manager of government affairs for the Pennsylvania Rural Electric Association and Allegheny Electric Cooperative.
Karen Bridges is a staff attorney with the Environmental Law & Policy Center. She is based in Minnesota and works primarily on federal climate change issues. Before joining ELPC, Karen served as energy and environment counsel to U.S. Sen. Max Baucus of Montana.
Steve Willard is the executive director of the South Dakota Electric Utility Companies. He has nearly 30 years of experience with the administrative, organizational, legislative, regulatory and electoral activities of government, non-profit organizations and the private sector. His responsibilities with the SDEUC include: liaison to public policy makers and the industry; legislative strategy and advocacy; strategic planning; issue campaign participation; and general member company support. He participates regionally and nationally with his executive counterparts and has worked and lobbied in Pierre and in Washington since 1990.
Steve Tomac is the senior legislative representative for Basin Electric Power Cooperative. Prior to joining Basin, he was the executive director of the North Dakota Farm Credit Council and chairman of the MorGranSou Rural Electric Cooperative. Steve is a former North Dakota legislator, having served in the House of Representatives for four years and the state senate for 12 years. Basin Electric is headquartered in Bismarck, N.D.
Thomas Marvin is director of the South Dakota Municipal Electric Association. He previously served as energy policy coordinator for Montana's local governments, and was formerly a Montana county commissioner and representative in regional consultations with the Bonneville Power Administration pursuant to the Pacific Northwest Electric Power Planning and Conservation Act.
Tom Heller has been CEO of Missouri River Energy Services since 1992. He serves on the board of directors of the Consumer Federation of America, executive committees of Consumers United for Rail Equity and the Transmission Access Policy Study Group, and the American Public Power Association's CEO Blue Ribbon Climate Change Task Force. In 2008, he was appointed by South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds to the Midwestern Governors Association's Greenhouse Gas Accord Advisory Group.
Mike McDowell has been general manager and CEO of Heartland Consumers Power District since May 2004. He has worked in the electric industry for more than 25 years, serving as CEO of both trade associations as well as operating utilities. Mike has served on the boards of directors for the American Public Power Association, the national association of municipal utilities, and chaired committees of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association responsible for federal water and power issues.