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Wheatland Electric membership elects new trustee, two incumbents
NEW Wheatland color with tag-FINAL

Members of Wheatland Electric Cooperative Inc. (WEC) have elected a new trustee and two incumbents to its 10-member board. Results were announced at this year’s 2024 Annual Meeting, held April 24, in Great Bend, and at seven remote meeting locations across southwest and central Kansas.  

Members of the electric cooperative, who voted by mail for the first time in cooperative history, voted to elect Kevin White, rural Tribune, as their District 3 trustee. White ran against another candidate, John Niehues, and secured just over two-thirds of the total vote: 1,065 vs. 508. 

Both White and Niehues were nominated for their candidacy by WEC’s nominating committee, comprised of seven co-op members, each representing one of the cooperative’s seven districts across southwest and central Kansas. 

White will replace outgoing trustee Mike Thon of Tribune, who was first elected to the board in 2018 and served two three-year terms. District 3 serves members across Greeley County, and portions of Kiowa and Cheyenne Counties in Colorado. 

Co-op members also voted to elect John L. Sullivan, Great Bend, in District 6, which serves Great Bend, and re-elect Mark Arnold, Caldwell, in District 7, which covers portions of Harper, Kingman, Sumner, and Sedgwick counties.  

Both Sullivan and Arnold ran uncontested and were also nominated by the nominating committee. Sullivan will begin his first three-year term; he was first appointed to the board to replace an outgoing trustee in 2022. 

Arnold will begin his third three-year term. He was first appointed to fill a vacating seat in 2016 and was later elected by the cooperative membership in 2018. Trustees are limited to six three-year terms on the WEC board. 

This year’s ballots received by mail represent a total of 9.55% of the co-op voting membership overall (1,918 ballots received from an eligible 20,087 eligible voters). 

A total of 1,918 ballots were cast in this year’s trustee election, managed by Survey and Ballot Systems, an independent third-party. Last year, a total of 654 registered members at the 2023 Annual Meeting cast their ballots in person or by proxy. The co-op membership approved bylaw changes at that time to allow trustee elections to transition to mail-in voting starting in 2024. 

This year’s transition to mail-in voting has resulted in an 193% increase in voter engagement from last year’s trustee election. 

A total of 527 individuals (including co-op members, special guests, and other non-members) were in attendance on April 24 at WEC’s 2024 Annual Meeting across eight meeting locations: Great Bend, Scott City, Leoti, Tribune, Syracuse, Garden City, Harper, and Caldwell. Of that total, 383 attendees were registered WEC members. 

This year’s theme – “Illuminating Connections” – provided WEC with a unique and enlightening opportunity to share the CONNECTIONS the co-op works to create every day – not just through the energy it delivers, but through the partnerships it builds, projects it helps fund, and new programs it has implemented – all with the goal of EMPOWERING the communities it serves. 

Additionally, members at every location were able to ask questions and offer comments in real time as they viewed the primary meeting location in Great Bend. Attendees enjoyed a meal at every location and took home a set of outdoor string lights as a thank you from WEC. 

Alli Conine, WEC’s director of Member Services and Corporate Communications, also presented awards to 14 high school seniors from across WEC’s service territory who were recipients of $1,000 scholarships. High school juniors who were selected to attend the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour in Washington D.C., and Cooperative Youth Leadership Camp in Steamboat Springs, Colo., later this year were also recognized. 

In addition, Mark Arnold, trustee and board president, recognized several WEC employees and trustees for their dedication to the cooperative, ranging from five years to 30 years of service. 

Those in attendance were able to learn more about Community Solar, a new subscription-based program that allows homeowners and renters to purchase solar shares and receive an adjustment on their bill.

Attendees at this year’s 2024 annual meeting received a 50-feet-long set of outdoor string lights reflecting this year’s theme – “Illuminating Connections.”

Co-op members who attended in any of the eight meeting locations were eligible to win one of over 50 door prizes and were also entered for the grand prize giveaway: a backyard/patio package including an outdoor TV box, smart TV, furniture set, outdoor rug, and outdoor lights. The grand prize winner was Alice Bennett of Harper.

The primary new business discussed at this year’s meeting was the announcement of trustee election results. 

An annual meeting summary video and 2023 financial report are both available on WEC’s YouTube channel (

The 2023 Annual Report, distributed to those in attendance, can now be downloaded at 

Members with questions are free to contact their local office or send their questions to