TAMPA, Fla. (8/27/12)--Credit union representatives, including staff from the Credit Union National Association and the state credit union leagues, will raise the profile of credit unions and credit union issues during this week's Republican National Convention that starts here this week. Originally scheduled to kick off today, approachin storm Isaac changed the long-made plans.
Over the weekend, eyes and ears were fixed on weather reports and predictions of how approaching storm Isaac was going to affect Florida after it passed Haiti. While Isaac had an impact on some travel arrangements, the convention activities seemed to be proceeding as planned, but then there was one notable exception. Breaking a long-standing convention tradition, Republicans on Saturday announced they would hold their "roll call of states" to choose Mitt Romney as their presidential nominee today--the first day of the convention--rather than in the middle of the week. Later in the day, GOP officials concelled the first day of activities.
The shovels may have been called ceremonial, but their blades were sharp and strong earlier this year at a groundbreaking ceremony at All Children's Hospital. Shown (L to R): Brendan Garrison; Beth Reinhard of National Journal; Patrick La Pine, president/CEO, League of Southeastern Credit Unions; Cynthia Scott-Butler; Rep. C.W. Bill Young (R-Fla.); Riley Christian; Mike Mercer, CUNA chair and president /CEO, Georgia Credit Union League & Affiliates; Dr. Jonathan Ellen, Interim president/CEO of All Children's; St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster; and Caden Riley. (CUNA Photo)
However the schedule unfolds, this year's credit union participation in the national political conventions follows a long tradition, started in 1988, of keeping credit unions and the credit union philosophy of "people helping people" in the national spotlight.
Trey Hawkins, CUNA vice president of political affairs, says CUNA participation in the national conventions is "an opportunity to continue to develop our political brand." Hawkins adds, "The conventions are an opportunity to talk to and communicate with all of the policy and media and political elites in one place. That's an opportunity we want to take on behalf of credit unions."
Among the highlights of credit union involvement, CUNA, the League of Southeastern Credit Unions, the National Journal Group
will honor the 2012 Republican National Convention, among others, with a "leave behind" project, which has retrofitted an existing playground at All Children's Hospital in nearby St. Petersburg with special play equipment for ill and injured children.
The renovated playground for young patients was made possible through funds raised with the help of credit unions.
Also during the convention, CUNA is a sponsor of the National Journal's Convention Daily Briefings, which will feature party newsmakers in both Tampa and Charlotte.
The on-site events, at both convention locations, plan to feature moderators such as Ron Brownstein, a two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of presidential campaigns and National Journal Group's editorial director, Chuck Todd, the chief White House correspondent for NBC News, Good Morning America co-
host George Stephanopoulos, and NBC
correspondent Chelsea Clinton, as well as speakers and panelists such as Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and former Republican senator from Mississippi Trent Lott.
On Wednesday, CUNA and state credit union leagues, and credit unions will host an event to honor all delegates attending the convention. The gathering will feature a bit of local Tampa flavor, literally and figuratively, with local artists, sangria and tapas, and world-famous Tampa cigars from Arturo Fuente Jr., who owns the 100-year-old Tampa Sweetheart Cigars company and is a member of GTE Financial's Supervisory Committee.
This, and a similar event at the DNC in Charlotte, will draw convention dignitaries to a credit union-sponsored event to highlight credit unions, their philosophy, and issues.
Watch CUNA's News Now
and its Twitter-fed updates on NewsNowLiveWire for up-to-the-minute coverage of credit union involvement at the two national political conventions this week and next.