Former Rep. Matheson to take reins of energy group

Former Rep. Matheson to take reins of energy group
© Greg Nash

Former Rep. Jim MathesonJames (Jim) David MathesonTrump EPA eases standards for coal ash disposal Utah redistricting reform measure likely to qualify for ballot Trump's budget targets affordable, reliable power MORE (D-Utah) will be replacing Jo Ann Emerson as the CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), the trade group announced on Monday.

Matheson, who joined top K Street firm Squire Patton Boggs after retiring from Congress last year, begins in the role next month. He is the sixth CEO of the group.


“Jim will bring to the position a broad knowledge of the issues facing rural America and will be an inspirational leader for America’s Electric Cooperatives,” NRECA President Mel Coleman said in a statement. 

Emerson, a former Republican congresswoman from Missouri, resigned from her House seat in January 2013 to take the helm of the organization. Elected in 1996, she had been the longest-serving member of Missouri’s congressional delegation.

She earned a $1.3 million salary from NRECA in 2014, according to the most recent tax forms available.

Last year, Emerson suffered a brain hemorrhage while on vacation in Italy, and NRECA cited a “severe illness” as her reason for stepping down.

During his 14-year tenure on Capitol Hill, Matheson sat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Prior to that, he had experience working with the energy industry, including at his own consulting firm.

“The respect Matheson has on both sides of the aisle, and his ability to bridge political and policy divides to find common ground, will serve NRECA and all member cooperatives very well,” NRECA said in the release about his hire.

Matheson, who became eligible to lobby his former colleagues this year, is listed as advocating on behalf of Airlines for America, Duke Energy, Salt Lake Community College, United Health Group, among others, at Squire Patton Boggs.

Former Sens. John Breaux (D-La.) and Trent Lott (R-Miss.), the co-chairs of Squire Patton Boggs' public policy practice, wished their colleague well.

"The chance to lead an organization like NRECA is a great opportunity, and we congratulate Jim and his family," the two said in a joint statement on Monday. "We’re grateful for all he’s done for Squire Patton Boggs and its clients, and we look forward to continuing to work with him in his new role.”

The K Street firm, which once reigned as the No. 1 firm on K Street by revenue, took in $4.7 million during the first three months of 2016.

In a statement, Matheson said he is “excited by the opportunity to lead NRECA.”

“I am honored to be associated with this member-driven organization that has a strong reputation for quality and integrity,” he continued. “I look forward to working collaboratively with all of the cooperative community as we look to the future.”


— This post was updated at 5:39 p.m.