Umatilla Electric Cooperative’s service area is divided into seven districts. Members of each district elect a director to represent them for a three-year term; each member may vote only in one district. This year, elections are being held for Districts 3 and 4. Results will be announced at UEC’s Annual Meeting on April 17, 2021.
2021 Board Election Candidates for District 3
District 3 includes the area south of the Columbia River to the north side of the Umatilla Depot, including East Irrigon and Umatilla; from the Morrow County line east to North Ott Road. District 3 is currently represented by Bryan Wolfe.
Alfred “Lee” Carlson
Lee Carlson, who lives on Alpine Drive north of Hermiston, was raised near Vernonia, Ore., where his father worked in a sawmill. The Carlson family moved to Hermiston in 1994 to be closer to two sons and grandkids in the area. He has built homes for 36 years, first in Washington County and more recently in this area. He also has worked in logging. For the past 20 years, through his church, Carlson has volunteered at Two Rivers Correctional Institution to instruct and mentor inmates, which he found fulfilling. “I totally enjoyed doing it,” he said. He has been part of the Pendleton Wagon Train for years, and has organized horse events in the county. He has four horses and a mule at his place, and enjoys taking pack strings to the Snake River country for recreation. His reason for running? “One of the biggest challenges is to keep costs down,” he said. At times, as a small-acreage irrigator, he has spoken his mind to UEC staff, seeking equitable rates for members. “It’s hard for farmers to make a living,” he said, and he will work hard to represent all member interests if elected.
I was born, raised, educated and married in Kansas to an Oregonian 49 years ago. We have been residents in rural Umatilla County for 45 years near Hermiston. My husband’s grandparents moved to Hermiston in the 1930s, where they worked and educated their children. We own and operate 1-A Construction & Fire LLP and have for 17½ years. My prior work experience was in the private energy industry and Beech Aircraft Military Section. I am a licensed General Contractor in Oregon and Washington. There are less than 20 percent of all General Contractors who are women, and I could easily work with the all-male UEC board with knowledge of business negotiation skills, contract and project management, personnel and related skills. In the mid-1990s and early 2000s I served as a board member of Umatilla County United Way and during 9/11/2001 my team raised over $700,000 for United Way. I volunteered and worked with local youth in 4-H and sports during the 1980s and 1990s. UEC and other local companies were homegrown companies where friends and family members were proud to serve, live in our community and raise their families. I consider Brian Wolfe (my opponent), your current District 3 Director and his family as friends. We have helped each other throughout the years. Believe I am well prepared to assist UEC to continue their growth trajectory where they protect every member. Your vote would be appreciated. Thank you.
Danice McBee was raised in Hermiston and is a graduate of Hermiston High School. After being a stay-at-home mom for 10 years, she went to work for Inland Empire/Banner Bank. She started as an entry-level bank teller and ended her career as manager of the Umatilla Branch. She was with the bank for 25 years and is very proud she was able to help her customers and the community. After leaving the bank she finished her career as a mortgage loan consultant with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. She was a member of Kiwanis, Altrusa and Credit Women. McBee is currently serving on the Board of Directors of the Umatilla Hospital District #1. She is married to Gerald McBee. Both are enjoying their retirement and have had the opportunity to travel in their hot rod cars. They are the proud parents of four children, Brian Johnson, Danette Warren, Corey McBee and Tina Montgomery, and have five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Bryan Wolfe, President of UEC’s Board of Directors and a leader in regional agriculture and energy, is seeking re-election to a ninth term serving District 3. “I am committed to protecting our members as we travel the road ahead,” he said. Wolfe graduated from Oregon State University with degrees in Agricultural Economics and Agricultural Business. He and his wife Lou Ann moved to Hermiston in 1975, raising four boys and operating an irrigated farm north of Hermiston. Wolfe has championed the region through the years, including governor-appointed service on the Oregon Energy Facility Siting Council, Hanford Cleanup Board and Oregon Board of Forestry. In his time on the UEC Board of Directors, Wolfe has worked to maintain low electric rates in the region while investing in infrastructure to create reliability, focusing on:
- Ensuring UEC members get a bigger return on annual membership checks as a reminder that UEC is member owned.
- Providing a business-friendly environment that has led to billions of dollars in economic development investments for our region.
- Ensuring members have the utilities and financial assistance they need during times of emergency.
Wolfe has also served on both the National and Oregon Rural Electric Cooperative Association Boards and represents Oregon, OSU and land-grant colleges to the Council on Agricultural Research, Extension and Teaching. He is or has been a member of multiple agricultural associations, including the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, Oregon Wheat Growers League and Blue Mountain Potato Growers, and a member of OSU’s Agricultural Hall of Fame. In a challenging environment, experience is paramount, he said. “This is a time when members of Umatilla Electric need proven leadership from their Board.”
2021 Board Election Candidates for District 4
District 4 includes the Columbia and Stanfield service area from south of the Columbia River to the north side of Stanfield Meadows Road; east of North Ott Road to the east side of Cold Springs Reservoir. District 4 is currently represented by Philip Hamm, who is running unopposed.
Phil Hamm of Hermiston is seeking reelection as UEC’s District 4 Board Member, a position he has held since 2018.
“It’s been a privilege to have served on UEC’s Board of Directors and the community these past 3 years,” Hamm said. “I have learned so much and want to build on that knowledge by continuing to serve.”
Hamm has earned the Credentialed Cooperative Director Certificate and is midway through the Board Leadership Certificate program administered through the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s Director Training Courses.
Hamm and his family (wife Linda, and children Bethany, Jacque and Greg) moved to Hermiston and became a UEC member 31 years ago. He is a graduate of Oregon College of Education (now Western Oregon University) and Oregon State University. He came to Hermiston to serve as the Plant Pathologist at Oregon State University’s Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center. He later became the director of the Experiment Station, retiring last year after working for OSU for 44 years.
He looks forward to serving UEC members, both in his district and throughout UEC’s territory.
“I believe I can continue to bring a fresh perspective to the Board as it tackles new and old issues,” Hamm said. “The connections between agriculture, natural resources, and energy are significant, and I can offer unique context to those conversations and decisions.”
UEC has experienced rapid growth, which is expected to continue and bring with it new challenges and opportunities. Hamm looks forward to working with fellow board members and staff to help keep UEC rates among the lowest in the country while building and upgrading facilities for reliability and demand that will meet the needs of all members today and into the future.
He has previously served the community in many ways, including the Hermiston School Board, Oregon Water Coalition Board, Hermiston Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Hermiston’s Futures Committee, and the Board of New Hope Community Church. He has also served as a member of the Hermiston School District Facilities Planning Committee and Blue Ribbon Committee.
In retirement, he is serving on the UEC Board, the City of Hermiston’s Planning Commission, the Blue Mountain Community College Foundation Board, and the TruCare Pregnancy Clinic Board of Directors.
Hamm spends as much of his spare time as he can with his grandchildren, who live next door, and enjoying the Eastern Oregon outdoors on hunting and fishing excursions.
“I look forward to the opportunity to continue to serve the members of UEC and represent District 4 as a Board member as we take on the challenges and opportunities ahead,” he said. “I’m asking you to cast your vote for me for the District 4 board member in the April election.”