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Hike the Hill Visits Backed Online Advocacy Efforts Last Week
WASHINGTON (9/16/13)--
Click to view larger image League  of Southeastern Credit Unions President/CEO Patrick La Pine, right, speaks during a group meeting with National Credit Union Administration board member Michael Fryzel. (Photo provided by the League of Southeastern Credit Unions)
While credit unions and members across the country made online credit union tax advocacy a priority last week, state credit union leagues representing Alabama, California, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Washington and West Virginia were backing them up on the ground by taking part in the first round of the Credit Union National Association's Fall Hike the Hill campaign.

"Credit union members who were in town reported good news from their meetings, and many legislators said they were hearing the 'Don't Tax My Credit Union' message loud and clear," CUNA Grassroots Manager Kristen Prather said Friday.

The LSCU & Affiliates fall Hike the Hill included meeting with lawmakers and visiting the National Credit Union Administration headquarters. During meetings on the Hill, Alabama and Florida credit unions continually heard that the Don't Tax My Credit Union message is working and to keep it up.

Click to view larger image Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) speaks before West Virginia credit unions during their Hike the Hill visit last week. West Virginia Credit Union League President Ken Watts, seated at front, right table, said this year's Hike took on added importance since it was taking place at a high point of the Don't Tax My Credit Union campaign. Manchin also acknowledged the good work credit unions do in their communities and strongly felt credit unions would be key to the country's further economic recovery, Watts told News Now. See related story, Grassroots At Work: N.J., W.Va. Lawmakers Speak Out For Tax Status. (Photo provided by the West Virginia Credit Union League)
The League of Southeastern Credit Unions reported that the meetings, which included talks with four senators and 34 representatives, were productive. A number of lawmakers told the league they are hearing credit unions loud and clear on the tax issue, and urged credit union supporters to keep up their grassroots efforts. Lawmakers also talked about their credit unions and their understanding of the role that credit unions play in their local communities. The Alabama and Florida group also met with NCUA board members Michael Fryzel and Richard Metsger during the week, discussing regulations and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

"Quick, Focused, Efficient" was the mantra for Oregon and Washington credit union representatives as they hiked last week. (Anthem Sept. 10). Northwest Credit Union Association Vice President for Legislative Advocacy Jennifer Wagner noted that "advocacy is all about relationships," and the recent Hike the Hill trip gave Oregon and Washington credit unions another opportunity to nurture their relationships with members of Congress "and remind them about the needs and challenges of the credit unions in their districts and of our members, who are their constituents."

"Advocating at the federal level is a process, not an event," Wagner said, noting that legislators do make decisions that can have extraordinary implications for credit unions. "It is imperative that our senators and representatives understand the unique structure and needs of credit unions," she added.

All in all, 20 leagues representing 28 states are carrying the Don't Tax My Credit Union message to Capitol Hill in September and October. This week, Georgia, Kentucky and Idaho credit union representatives will be in town.
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