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Small CU leader involves staff in advocacy
CHILLICOTHE, Ohio (2/8/13)--Despite her credit union's small size, Laura Roberts insists that Chivaho FCU stands tall as an advocate for cooperative financial institutions.

Roberts, CEO of the $24 million asset Chillicothe, Ohio, credit union and president of the Ohio Credit Union League's (OCUL) South Central Chapter, developed an essay contest offering a professional development scholarship to one of her credit union's seven employees to attend the Credit Union National Association's 2013 Governmental Affairs Conference, said the league (eLuminationNewsletter Feb. 6).

CUNA's 2013 GAC will take place Feb. 24-28 at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. This year's GAC theme, "Powerful Cause, Positive Effect," reflects the credit union commitment to the 95 million working Americans who rely on credit unions every day.

Preserving the tax status of credit unions is CUNA's top advocacy priority in 2013 and maintaining that status will be the main goal of credit union grassroots and political advocacy efforts during the year--and among the topics addressed at the GAC.

"I have a passion for political involvement, and I've been to the GAC and it is awesome," Roberts told the Ohio league. "Small credit unions like ours are challenged to participate because we don't have the resources." She said she "wanted to find a way for our own staff to recognize the importance of political involvement."

Chivaho's scholarship includes travel, lodging expenses, registration fees and paid time off to attend.

Essay contest participants answered the question: Why are you interested in attending the GAC? In our current economic climate, what should our credit union do to make a difference in our community and our members' lives? In reviewing the credit union strategic plan, what specific goals of the plan do you feel are most important? If you were asked to add a goal to the plan, what would it be?

The contest winner, Gina Plummer, will detail her GAC experience in a written report that she will share with the credit union's board of directors.

Legislators on the GAC speaking schedule include: Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio); Democratic National Committee Chairman and credit union supporter Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.); and credit union champions Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.).

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.)., House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), House Financial Services Committee senior member Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) and Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) are also slated to speak at the 2013 GAC.

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