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Mr. Carmody: We Want Lights
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This handwritten note was found on the back of the accompanying photograph in John Carmody's papers, at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library. John Carmody replaced Morris Cooke in 1936 as head of the Rural Electrification Administration.

REA--Somewhere near the state line between southeast Tennessee and northwest Georgia, on the edge of TVA Territory. TVA had created a desire for electricity in all adjacent areas. I recall seeing this sign during one of my visits to this area while a project was in the process of being organized. We had some trouble with the Georgia Power Company in those early days about "spite lines," etc. Like other private post companies that "couldn't see the rural market" before REA got started they suddenly blossomed out either to discourage formation of rural cooperatives or to hinder progress by "spite lines." We finally bought some of these for the coops and rural Georgia went to one of the most widely electrified states. Georgia Power Com. (Charles Collier, their public relations chief) did not like it when I would not agree to their plan to take over all utilization of power use for all REA projects in Georgia "and thereby relieve REA of the use of electricity in rural areas." I reminded Mr. Collier I could think of no better way to accomplish what the private power companies were saying, after they discovered they could not prevent formation of farm cooperatives and the building of lines, "We will buy them for a song." I wonder why so many people in private industry think government administrators are simple minded? Well, we went ahead in Georgia, as elsewhere, minded our own business, fulfilled our obligations and built a strong REA.

--John Carmody