Caleb Jones, an attorney and former legislator, has taken the helm as the new executive vice president and chief executive officer of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives, Jefferson City. He succeeds Barry Hart, who served in the role from 2004 until his retirement Jan. 5.
“I’m pleased to be leading such a great team of professionals who are dedicated to the co-ops we serve,” Jones says of his new role. “The electric cooperatives have a great reputation for trustworthiness. They are respected pillars of their communities and work hard to raise the quality of life for rural Missourians. I am optimistic about the future of this great organization and look forward to the opportunity to help benefit electric cooperative members statewide.”
“I’m excited about the Board’s selection of Caleb to succeed me as CEO of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives,” Hart said. “He is a great leader, respected by leaders across Missouri and most importantly understands the issues affecting rural Missourians. He believes in the cooperative principles and is dedicated to representing the member-owners at the end of the line. Keeping electricity affordable and reliable for co-op members and improving quality of life in rural Missouri will be his priority.”
Jones is the sixth CEO in the 71-year history of the association, which works on behalf of the state’s electric cooperatives by providing legislative services, job and safety training, vehicle testing and publishing the award-winning Rural Missouri magazine.
Jack Baker, president of the association and a director for Osage Valley Electric Cooperative, had this to say of the promotion for Jones: “We had a committee meeting where we considered all of Caleb’s qualifications. There was no question he was the best person for the job. When the vote was taken it was unanimous. I am pleased to see him leading us into the future.”
State officials and leaders from other rural organizations also were quick to praise the association’s new leader. “Missouri’s electric cooperatives have a long tradition of hiring representatives who truly care about the people of rural Missouri,” said Missouri Gov. Mike Parson. “I have no doubt that Caleb will continue in that tradition as CEO of the statewide association. His many years of public service make him the ideal person to head an organization devoted to serving its members.”
“Caleb’s knowledge of the ag industry and experience in public service have made him an incredibly effective advocate for Missouri’s rural communities,” said U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt. “He will continue in the great tradition of Barry Hart to be an asset to the electric co-ops nationally and the families they serve in Missouri. I share Caleb’s priority of reliable, affordable energy, and making rural broadband a priority. I look forward to working with Caleb and the Missouri co-ops to continue those efforts.”
“Missouri Farm Bureau and Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives are united in their desire to protect the rural way of life,” said Missouri Farm Bureau President Blake Hurst. “Caleb Jones is an excellent choice to head the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives. He will bring common sense ideas to the table and I look forward to working with him on behalf of Missouri’s farmers, ranchers and small business owners.”
In 2017, Jones left the Missouri governor’s office where he was deputy chief of staff to join the association as its vice president. He is a former state representative from California, Missouri where his family was served by Co-Mo Electric Cooperative. First elected in 2010, he served three terms in the Missouri House of Representatives representing parts of Boone, Cole, Cooper and Moniteau counties. As a representative, he followed in the footsteps of his father, Kenny, who also served three terms in the Missouri House.
Jones previously worked on Capitol Hill for U.S. Rep. Kenny Hulshof focusing on agricultural and environmental issues. After working on the 2004 Bush/Cheney Presidential Campaign, he was appointed by President Bush to serve as special assistant in the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
A graduate of California High School, Jones has a degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Missouri School of Law.
Jones resides in Boone County with his wife, Lindsey, and their two children, Maxwell and Charleston.