Advocates in Action: Sharing the Credit Union Message with State, Federal Lawmakers

By Samantha Beeler

Peninsula Credit Union President/CEO Jim Morrell (left) and U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer (middle) help kick off Peninsula’s participation in the “Save to Win” program.

Advocates from six Northwest credit unions joined Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) on March 21 for the 12th annual Women’s Leadership Lunch in Portland, where they talked about women’s issues and the political climate in Washington, D.C.

The lunch was just one recent example of credit unions’ ongoing efforts to make sure that federal and state lawmakers understand the credit union difference and the role credit unions play in the communities they serve. In March and April alone, advocates attended prayer breakfasts and luncheons, hosted campaign events and even joined elected officials for a game of “Jeopardy.”

Advocacy efforts are crucial to the future of the credit union movement. And so each month in Anthem, the Northwest Credit Union Association will celebrate political and grassroots advocacy and shine a spotlight on the advocates who are contributing their time, energy and resources to campaigns and candidates.

Are you or your credit union involved in advocacy efforts? Tell us by filling out our online form (send us photos, too!), and then watch for our Advocates in Action column in Anthem on the third Tuesday of every month. (The next column will run on May 20.)

Here’s how Northwest advocates got involved in March and April:

  • Advocacy 112th Annual Women’s Leadership Lunch:  Advocates from the NWCUA and six member credit unions joined U.S. Reps. Earl Blumenauer and Tulsi Gabbard at the annual luncheon in Portland. Pictured at right (from left to right): Tiffany Pillars of Providence Federal Credit Union, Trisha Baker of Providence Federal Credit Union, Deidra Miner of First Tech Federal Credit Union, Char Shinn of Oregonians Credit Union, St. Helens Community Federal Credit Union President/CEO Brooke Van Vleet, and Samantha Beeler of the NWCUA. Also in attendance: Cathy Loe of Point West Credit Union, Heather Noel of Point West Credit Union, and Katie Clark of the NWCUA.
  • State of the City Luncheon: Oregonians Credit Union sponsored a table at the March 14 event in Oregon City. Raymond Stobie and Char Shinn hosted Oregon state Reps. Brent Barton and Bill Kennemer at their table.
  • Silverton Prayer Breakfast:  Valley Credit Union President/CEO Jean Wheat-Palm attended the breakfast at the Oregon Gardens, where she shared the importance of the credit union movement with Oregon state Rep. Vic Gilliam.
  • Jeopardy! Char Shinn of Oregonians Credit Union teamed up with Oregon state Rep. Brent Barton and Oregon City Councilor Betty Mumm on March 20 for a locally televised game of “Oregon City Jeopardy.” The event was sponsored by the Oregon City Chamber of Commerce.
  • Changin’ North Mason: Working closely with Congressman Derek Kilmer, Jim Morrell and Peninsula Credit Union hosted a fundraiser on March 31 for North Mason Resources, a nonprofit organization that helps low-income families become more self-sufficient. Sixty-one people attended the event, which also served as the kickoff for Peninsula’s participation in the “Save to Win” Prize-Linked Savings Program. Read more about the event in Anthem.
  • On the Campaign Trail I: In Vancouver, Fibre Federal President/CEO Larry Hoff met with U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera-Beutler during a campaign visit.
  • On the Campaign Trail II: Congressman Denny Heck invited Peninsula Credit Union’s Jim Morrell to host an evening in Olympia featuring Robert Reich’s documentary “Inequality for All” and a panel discussion to support Heck’s re-election campaign. BECU’s Debbie Wege also attended the event at Olympia High School.
  • On the Campaign Trail III: U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer’s campaign hosted an event March 31 at the Tacoma Glass Museum. TAPCO Credit Union CEO Carlyn Roy and Peninsula Credit Union President/CEO Jim Morrell attended, as did Washington state Rep. Jake Fey.

Samantha Beeler is the political and grassroots manager for the Northwest Credit Union Association. Reach her at 503.350.2218 or, and look for her Advocates in Action column every month in Anthem.

Questions about this story? Contact Gary M. Stein: 503.350.2216,

Posted in Advocacy News, Events, Federal.