U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Kiron, (left) inspect maps of the Raccoon Valley Electric Cooperative’s system with the organization’s CEO James Bagley on Wednesday morning in Glidden. Daily Times Herald photo by Douglas Burns
U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Kiron, (left) inspect maps of the Raccoon Valley Electric Cooperative’s system with the organization’s CEO James Bagley on Wednesday morning in Glidden. Daily Times Herald photo by Douglas Burns
Thursday, October 4, 2012

GLIDDEN — Raccoon Valley Electric Cooperative (RVEC) CEO James Bagley Wednesday led U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Kiron, on a 90-minute economic-development tour of Glidden featuring upgrades to the member-owned utility system and a 23-lot housing development north of U.S. Highway 30.

“Around here, we pretty much try to take care of ourselves,” Bagley said.

RVEC, which serves 2,700 meters in Carroll, Sac, Greene, Guthrie, Crawford and Buena Vista counties, sustained some $60 million in damages over the past four years through ice storms and tornadoes, with 99 percent of downed lines and other problems hitting Carroll and Sac counties.

Bagley showed King maps of the Carroll and Sac systems, where about 75 percent of the planned improvements have been made.

“This system would stand an ice storm like we had before?” King asked Bagley.

“It better,” Bagley said.

Bagley said the weather-related repairs and upgrades should be finished by January 2014.

“We appreciate all your help with this,” Bagley told the congressman. “It’s been a huge undertaking.”

 The federal government, through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, funds 75 percent of the repairs with 10 percent coming through the state and 15 percent from the RVEC.

Longer term, Bagley said, the distribution cooperative, which buys its electricity, has to rely on transmission lines from out of state. He doesn’t expect any nuclear or coal plants to go on line in Iowa in the near future.

“I just don’t see the political will to do it,” Bagley said.

Bagley and King were joined by several Glidden city leaders at the High View subdivision, a project spearheaded by the RVEC and a subsidiary of that organization.

“The best way to keep our school is to keep people moving in,” said Bagley, who lives in one of the four homes now occupied in the development.

Two more homes are available for sale with 17 lots on the market.

“What better thing to have for an investment,” King said as he watched students from Des Moines Area College’s Building and Trades program busy at work on another home.

King said that as people move from starter homes to the new development it frees properties for new residents and growth in Glidden.

King, now in a race for the 4th Congressional District seat with Democrat Christie Vilsack of Ames, said he has visited all 382 towns in the new political territory. Glidden is a community on the move, King said.

“I’m impressed with the progress that’s been made,” King said.

King spoke for some time with Glidden Mayor Roger Hartwigsen; Gary Schon, president of the Glidden Development Group (GDG); and Bob Linde and David McNamara, members of the GDG.

“I’m a small-town guy,” said King, who lives between Odebolt and Kiron. “Local leadership is what does it.”