Credit Union Advocates Blanket Oregon State Capitol
February 1, 2011
March 31, 2011
More than 220 credit union advocates gathered at the Oregon State Capitol Tuesday for the annual “Credit Union Day at the Capitol.” The event is designed to ensure that legislative members understand the importance of the credit union difference and to help build relationships between legislators and credit union representatives from their districts.
“It was wonderful to see such a great turnout from credit unions across the state,” said Jennifer Wagner, Director of Advocacy for the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA). The day was certainly high energy, due in part to the 40 dozen Krispy Kreme donuts that were brought to the Capitol by NWCUA Director of Outreach Programs Kasey Rockwell.
The day began at 8:30 a.m. for the attendees as they heard remarks by Senate President Peter Courtney and House Co-Speakers Bruce Hanna and Arnie Roblan. All three expressed their strong support for credit unions and were well received by the group.
Following the welcoming comments, advocates received a training seminar from NWCUA’s Pam Leavitt on the issues that the Association has before the legislature this session. Pam discussed SB177, the Association’s biannual update of the state credit union act as well as HJR24, a resolution encouraging schools to offer students a course of instruction in financial literacy. The final issue discussed was HB3263, introduced by the Oregon Banker’s Association to remove the tax exemption for some credit unions. While unlikely to receive any action in the session, Leavitt said the bill was an opportunity for advocates to remind legislators of the cooperative model of credit unions and why credit unions received the tax exemption in the first place.
Following the discussion of the issues, the group gathered in the Senate chamber to watch the floor session and observe the legislative process first hand. Credit unions anchored their respective booths in the capitol lobby as advocates visited with legislators and staff throughout the day. Seven credit unions had informational booths at the capitol along with NWCUA.
“Credit union day at the capital is critically important,” said NWCUA Chairman Bill Anderson. “Elected leaders hear from our Association’s staff all the time, but it’s not often they speak with their constituent credit unions. It is a day that makes a big impression on our elected leaders and creates the opportunity to really explain what makes our institutions special.”
The afternoon was a time for one-on-one meetings with legislators. Wagner reports that all 90 legislators were visited by at least one credit union representative from their districts.
“Everyone was very receptive to our members and interested in our theme of supporting community recovery,” said Wagner. “I think the economy is front and center on the minds of legislators and they are eager to hear how credit unions are helping small businesses and families with their financial needs.”
The day concluded with a reception at a hotel close to the capitol. Twenty state representatives and four senators attended the casual affair despite having endured a long legislative day.
“It speaks really well of our credit union family that so many legislators would come by and visit with their local credit union friends,” said NWCUA President Troy Stang. “The turnout was nothing short of amazing and testimony to the strong relationships our people have built with legislators over the years.”
And no, not a Krispy Kreme donut survived the event.