Charlie Stenholm, a cotton producer elected to Congress in 1978, has been a leading supporter of cooperative initiatives for the past 20 years. Prior to his election, he was President of the Texas Rural Electric Cooperative Association and Executive Vice President of the Rolling Plains Cotton Growers Association. In all roles he has demonstrated outstanding innovation, dedication, and determination in advancing cooperative ideals and goals As a Congressman, Stenholm consistently ensures that those representing cooperatives are heard. In addition, his colleagues frequently called upon him to address questions about the role, purpose, and significance of cooperatives nationwide.
Stenholm initiated and supported tax systems benefiting co-ops, and developed the legislation to reorganize the U.S. Department of Agriculture and to reform the nation's crop insurance program. It was his knowledge of the foundation of the cooperative system that enabled him to do this.
Throughout his career Stenholm has been a strong and vocal leader of the cooperative movement. He has admirably represented cooperatives at both the state and national level, and has done much to strengthen the entire cooperative system.