WASHINGTON (1/22/14)--As another election year begins, the Credit Union National Association is again teaming with state credit union leagues to prepare local legislators-to-be through its campaign schools.
Six campaign schools are currently on the schedule for the year.
The first of these was held Tuesday in Missoula, Mont., and sessions have also been scheduled for today in Helena and Thursday in Billings. This is the seventh time that campaign schools have been held in that state. The Montana campaign schools will be co-hosted by CUNA, the Montana Credit Union Network, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Montana Electric Cooperatives' Association, Montana Chamber of Commerce and the Montana Association of Realtors.
Montana State House member Jesse O'Hara (R) and Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton (D) both praised the help that the schools gave to their respective campaigns in a Jan. 8 Helena Independent Record piece. "I learned what I could do and what I couldn't do--and what I needed to do. I came away with an education, and I felt confident in my ability to run an effective campaign after I intended," Dutton told the Independent Record.
Three campaign schools are being co-hosted by CUNA, the Carolinas Credit Union League and the NRECA. The North Carolina-based schools will be held in Rocky Mount on Jan. 28, Fayetteville on Jan. 29 and Hickory on Jan. 30.
This is the third time a series of campaign school events has been held in the state. The first campaign schools, held in 2010, bore significant fruit for the credit union movement when a campaign school attendee, current U.S. Rep. Renee Elmers (R), went on to defeat incumbent Bob Ethridge (D) to win that state's second district.
Topics covered during CUNA's campaign schools include campaign management, fundraising, message development, and get-out-the-vote planning. Past campaign schools have created many other success stories, as dozens of graduates have run for a broad swath of positions, from justice of the peace, to state representative, to mayor. Potential state House members, school board officials and county commissioners are among those taking part in this week's class sessions.
CUNA's Vice President of Political Affairs Trey Hawkins said the main goal of the campaign schools "is to give first-time candidates the know-how to run for office, raise money and develop campaign plans." Hawkins said the schools also show the candidates that credit unions are sophisticated when it comes to politics and elections. "The campaign schools create terrific relationships with lawmakers who may one day run for higher office," he said.