Jim Rabbitt is the Director of Government Relations for Cooperative Network, the trade association of cooperative businesses in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
area of responsibility includes Telecommunications, Credit Unions, Health Care, and Consumer Cooperatives.
Prior to joining Cooperative Network, Jim directed the Wisconsin Bureau of Consumer Protection's administration of more than sixty consumer fraud and unfair trade practice laws and was a primary author of several administrative rules most notably the Wisconsin No-Call rules.
Beginning with 1993 Act 496, that responsibility included creating and enforcing administrative rules ensuring fair practices in the subscription and billing practices of the telecommunications industry.
brings the perspective that cooperative businesses are different from investor-owned businesses because their member-owners determine the goods and services they deliver and they return excess revenue to their local community in the form of patronage rebates or reinvestment into their cooperative.
But Jim Rabbitt, director of government relations at Cooperative Network and former director at the Wisconsin Bureau of Consumer Protection, said his members are worried that government action will undercut existing telecom services they already provide in rural areas by the customer-owned cooperatives he represents.
"If there is competition, so be it.
But not supported with government dollars," said Rabbitt