Oregon Credit Union Day at the Capitol Brings an Advocacy Army of 100 to Salem


Oregon’s well-oiled Credit Union Movement advocacy army marched on the state capitol in Salem on Feb.16. Even in this year’s short session, more than 100 credit union employees and board members attended to message the Credit Union Difference to lawmakers.

“In this state, you are leading the way on how advocacy should be done,” said Troy Stang, President and CEO of the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA). “The perspective you have as cooperative credit unions is critically important to share with legislators. You can’t be more local than to be a cooperative.”

Nearly two million Oregon consumers — constituents of the legislators — are credit union members.

“What we are doing here is so important, in keeping credit unions in the minds of legislators,” said Pam Leavitt, the NWCUA’s Policy Advisor of Advocacy and Grassroots.

Meeting the New Regulator

Cameron Smith, who was recently confirmed by the legislature as the Director of the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS), addressed the advocates.

Prior to taking the helm at DCBS, Smith Directed the Oregon Department of Veteran’s Affairs for five years and served as a policy advisor to two previous Oregon Governors. He is former Marine who completed three tours of duty in Iraq.

“All of you as credit unions, and leaders in Oregon, have that community, member-driven ethos at your core and in your DNA,” said Smith. “A huge thank you to all of you for being here today, helping to advocate and champion credit unions’ financial services to Oregonians across the state.”

Community Impact Awards

State Senator Mark Hass (D-Dist.14) received one of two 2018 Community Impact Awards. A delegation of advocates from seven credit unions with branches in his district personally presented the honors in Sen. Hass’ office.

“We’re just so appreciative of everything you do here in Salem,” said Scott Burgess, President and CEO of Rivermark Community Credit Union. “All-day Kindergarten, access to higher education, all your work on tax reform, and being available to talk with credit unions and hear the credit union perspective…we want to thank you very much.”

“I thank you for all you do,” Sen. Hass said. “There’s a certain sort of ethic in all credit unions…where people see this as a public service, not unlike what we do here (in the legislature) where people say we need to help. You talk about community impact, and you guys are helping your community with that ethic.”

Representative Andy Olson (R-Dist.15) was moved when his award was presented at the legislative luncheon. Rick Hein, CEO of Corvallis-based Oregon State Credit Union, presented the honor to Olson and said his leadership career began long before his election to the House in 2005. Olson was an Oregon State Trooper for 29 years.

“When I found out you were recognizing me for this, it meant a lot,” Olson said. “I can’t believe this is my 14th year already. I feel pretty blessed with what I’ve been able to do, the people I’ve gotten to know around the state, as well as you, and across the nation as well. For me to receive this from you, this is huge.”

The Work Continues

Even in this short legislative session, Leavitt is monitoring 200 bills to keep credit union advocates informed. She said advocates should “build on your relationships with your legislators and invite them to your credit union after the session.”

Click here to see photos from this important day for Oregon credit unions.

Northwest credit union advocates will continue their work at next week’s 2018 CUNA GAC, joining colleagues from across the nation to speak with legislators, attend learning sessions, and celebrate the Credit Union Difference. Click here to learn more about the conference. Also stay tuned for updates from D.C. in Anthem and on our new, members-only advocacy blog.

Posted in Advocacy News.