July 20, 2022

Local leader Jim Brooks elected to chair national council


Jim Brooks, chair of Evansville’s Municipal Services Committee and president of the City Council, has been elected to chair the American Public Power Association’s (APPA) Policy Makers Council. The APPA represents communities in the United States powered by not-for-profit, locally owned utilities also referred to as public power utilities.

“The PMC brings together about 40 elected officials from across the country whose main task is to call on Congress and policy writers in Washington to present the concerns of public power communities with a single voice,” shared Brooks in an interview with the APPA. “Lawmakers see swarms of paid lobbyists on a regular basis, but they know that when we show up, we are bringing along the thoughts and needs of thousands of voters in their district. Many in Congress started in local government and have maintained those ties to our communities, to our advantage.”

The Policy Makers Council takes action on legislative and regulatory issues that impact customers in Evansville and other public power communities across the nation. There are 2,000 public power communities in the United States and 81 of them are located in Wisconsin. Members of the PMC meet twice a year in Washington, D.C., and at least once a month by telephone. The group advocates on issues such as climate policy, reducing emissions while ensuring a reliable and affordable power supply, energy infrastructure investments, and preserving local control for public power communities.

Evansville Water & Light is a public power utility and member of the APPA. The local utility is also a member-owner of WPPI Energy, a not-for-profit, wholesale power supplier located in Sun Prairie, Wis. In addition to his other duties, Brooks serves as the chair of WPPI Energy’s Policy & Communications Leadership Council, the committee responsible for counseling staff and the organization’s executive committee on the best means of increasing policy-making influence and strengthening grassroots capacity for legislative, regulatory and policy initiatives.

Brooks is the second public power leader associated with WPPI Energy to serve as chair of the APPA’s Policy Makers Council. Paul Fisk, previously the mayor of Lodi, Wis., was also active with the joint action agency and was elected to chair the Policy Makers Council in 2016.

As chair, Brooks also serves on the national APPA Board of Directors. His chairmanship will last until July 2023.