Washington Credit Union Day at the Capitol Will Connect Advocates to Legislators

Mark Minickiello, the NWCUA’s vice president for legislative affairs, kicks off 2013 Credit Union Day at the Capitol in a huge tent on the Capitol grounds in Olympia.

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Credit union advocates from across Washington are invited to get up close and personal with state legislators in February, when the Northwest Credit Union Association hosts Credit Union Day at the Capitol in Olympia.

This year’s event, scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 6, will include a legislative briefing (Gov. Jay Inslee and leaders from the state House and Senate have been invited). Advocates will also get a chance to “hike the hill” in small groups and share the credit union message in face-to-face meetings with legislators from their districts.

“Credit Union Day is a great way to educate our state legislature about credit unions and how the bills they’ll be working on could impact service to members,” says Mark Minickiello, the NWCUA’s vice president for legislative affairs. “Our goal is to have every legislator — there are 147 of them — meet with a credit union representative from their district.”

Minickiello says the NWCUA will make it easy for advocates to participate, providing talking points and messages in advance and at the Capitol. Registration is free, and the day’s 10 a.m. start and 4 p.m. finish mean no overnight hotel stay is necessary and the time commitment is minimal.

“Instead of going to the branch that day,” Minickiello says, “we’re asking folks to point their car toward Olympia and help us make a big impact on lawmakers who may not even be aware of the wonderful things credit unions do.”

Credit Union Day will kick off in a large, heated tent on the Capitol grounds in Olympia, and there’s no need for business attire. Advocates should wear whatever they would normally wear to work, Minickiello says, and the NWCUA will “accessorize” with bright yellow scarves.

“The scarves are from an anonymous donor and help us to stand out while we’re on the Capitol campus,” Minickiello says. “They give non-legislators and other visitors to the Capitol an idea of our numbers, and spur questions that give us an opportunity to share our story. And yes, everyone gets one!”

The timing of the event — which will also include a hands-on Financial Reality Fair for students — couldn’t be better.

As the Legislature continues to struggle with budget shortfalls, lawmakers’ attention remains focused on tax reform. That makes it imperative, Minickiello says, that “we educate legislators about our not-for-profit cooperative business model, and how the accompanying tax exemption directly affects and impacts their constituents and the communities they serve.”

Just like some credit union members, legislators might not fully understand the difference between credit unions and banks, Minickiello says. “But when they discover the difference and the value that credit unions provide, they do understand, and want to support us.”

Big banks do their own lobbying in Olympia, of course, and argue that credit unions should lose their tax exemption because they’re no different than banks.

“If we’re not there to share our story, legislators will be left with the picture the banks paint,” Minickiello says. “That’s why it is imperative that we remain engaged in the legislative process and come to Olympia at least once a year to help legislators see and feel the credit union difference.”

For more information about Washington Credit Union Day at the Capitol, contact Melissa Lovejoy at mlovejoy@nwcua.org. To register for the free event, go here.


Questions? Contact Gary Stein: 503.350.2216, gstein@nwcua.org.

Posted in Events.