Henry receives National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s William F. Matson Democracy Award



Carmie Henry, recently retired vice president of governmental affairs for the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, received the William F. Matson Democracy Award from NRECA (National Rural Electric Cooperative Association) during the association’s 2014 Annual Meeting in Nashville.

 The Action Committee for Rural Electrification (ACRE) created the award to recognize the outstanding accomplishments and service to rural electric cooperatives through political action, political education and participation.

 “Since joining the cooperatives in August of 1997, Carmie proved to be instrumental in fostering and supporting the electric cooperative movement on a state and national level,” said NRECA CEO Jo Ann Emerson. “Through his demonstrated leadership and direction, the ACRE program in Arkansas is among the top in the nation.”

 Prior to joining the cooperatives, Henry was a professional staff member for the United States Senate Committee on Appropriations. He has more than 22 years of experience on the staffs of three United States Senators and the Arkansas Secretary of State. Henry received a B.B.A. degree in accounting from the University of Central Arkansas and is a retired Naval flight officer with the rank of captain.

 “Carmie was a rock star for co-ops in Arkansas at the state and national levels. He developed deep relationships with members and staff in both capitals and became a trusted and knowledgeable resource for them,” said Curtis Nolan, president of the NRECA board of directors. “He set a high standard for government relations staff in every state and we are indebted to Carmie for his indefatigable spirit and conviction for electric cooperatives.”

 Under Mr. Henry’s guidance, Arkansas formed Arkansas CURE to represent the interest of the “captive rail shippers” in Arkansas.

 “Carmie was considered a key “friend” among members of the Arkansas Congressional delegation and was often contacted to obtain his expertise on energy-related issues,” said Duane Highley, president and CEO of the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas. “He held the same level of respect among members of the Arkansas General Assembly.”

 The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national service organization that represents the nation’s more than 900 private, not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives, which provide service to 42 million people in 47 states.


The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas comprise 17 electric distribution cooperatives; Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI), a Little Rock-based cooperative that provides services to the distribution cooperatives; and Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. (AECC), a generation and transmission cooperative. The distribution cooperatives provide electricity to approximately 500,000 homes, farms and businesses in Arkansas and surrounding states.