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CU advocacy on high gear before Nov. elections
WASHINGTON (9/26/12)--With the 2012 elections just over one month away, credit unions, state leagues and the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) continue to advocate for credit union priorities, and remain active in campaign and voting efforts.

CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney, fourth from right, and Kentucky credit union representatives meet with Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), center, in Washington. (Kentucky Credit Union League photo)
Credit union and league representatives from Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Nebraska, South Carolina, West Virginia, Kentucky, Vermont, Minnesota and Georgia have visited this month.

CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney accompanied the Kentucky delegation as they visited Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) last week. The visit, which featured discussions of the regulatory burdens faced by credit unions, and how credit unions could help the economy if Congress approved legislation to increase the member business lending cap, was covered in McConnell's weekly e-newsletter.

Wisconsin credit unions and league representatives and credit unions from that state are scheduled to make their own hike next week, and Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota credit union representatives have scheduled hikes for the post-election lame duck session of Congress, and other hikes may be added in the future.

CUNA Senior Vice President of Legislative Affairs Ryan Donovan said the scope of Congress's work after the Nov. 6 elections has not been determined, but CUNA expects consideration of the Sen. Mark Udall's (D-Colo.) Credit Union Small Business Jobs bill during the lame duck session.

"There are certainly a number of critical issues on Congress's plate after the election," Donovan said. "While the path Congress decides to take will be determined, in large part, on the outcome of the election, we are preparing for and look forward to a vote on Sen. Udall's bill in the post-election session."

Ahead of the elections, CUNA and the leagues continue to support credit-union friendly candidates, and CUNA Vice President of Political Affairs Trey Hawkins this week urged credit union supporters to advocate for greater support of credit union issues as legislators in their districts campaign for their respective positions.

The Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN) and credit unions from that state have also reached out to support candidates in their own in-state House and Senate races, meeting with Minnesota State House Majority Leader Matt Dean (R), House Minority Leader Paul Thissen of the Democratic Farmer Labor (DFL) party, State Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem (R), Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk (DFL), and others to learn their positions on key credit union issues. MnCUN Political Advocacy Director Ryan Smith said the network continues to evaluate candidates for all statewide offices on their understanding of credit union issues and their ability to support credit unions and their mission to best serve members.

The North Carolina Credit Union League and credit unions in that state, including Mountain CU, Asheville, N.C., and Latino Community CU, Durham, N.C., have led in-branch voter registration drives ahead of this fall's elections. Pam Melton, NCCUL director of political affairs, assisted in the voting efforts at Mountain CU branches throughout western N.C., and said the registration events "were held as a way to show our members how important the upcoming elections are going to be. Credit Unions and their members must stay up to date and remain as a voice to be heard in local, state and national political campaigns," she added.

Early voting has already begun in some states, and CUNA has provided information for voters and an online tool to help them determine where they can apply for early voting applications, on cuna.org/election. For the CUNA elections website, use the resource link.
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