WASHINGTON (9/22/09)—To a back drop of the most aggressive agenda of financial services issues before the U.S. Congress and the administration in a generation, the 2010 Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) will give credit union leaders the opportunity to learn the latest, first hand, from influential policymakers. Participants also have opportunities to speak out on critical issues, and ensure the credit union difference is well understood on Capitol Hill. And beginning today, those planning to attend the Feb.21-25 event in Washington, D.C, can reserve hotel rooms online or by phone. (See related story: GAC housing sign up starts today.) CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica, noting the pivotal events that are leading up to the coming year’s GAC said, “We have both serious challenges and real opportunity in the year ahead. The challenge will be to ensure credit unions are not disadvantaged or overburdened by new regulation and reform. The opportunity will be to advance our goals on member business lending and capital reform at a time when Congress is seeking ways to spur economic growth. We really need to make an impact. The GAC is the place to do it.” The 2010 GAC will feature an array of prominent speakers, including heavy hitters to address the nation’s economy. Larry Kudlow, host of CNBC’s “The Kudlow Report” is a renowned free-market, supply-side economist with a storied career spanning three decades. Scheduled to address the GAC, he will offer a wealth of insight and expertise to help credit union leaders better navigate tomorrow's evolving economic and political terrain. On the political front, the 2010 GAC will offer a lively “point-counterpoint” discussion on national issues of the day from two of the most prominent voices on the left and right: Former Vermont governor and Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean will pair with Joe Scarborough, the former Republican congressman who now hosts MSNBC’s popular “Morning Joe” program. Additionally, key speakers from Congress, the administration and the financial regulatory agencies will be announced in coming weeks as the agenda takes shape for a conference that continues to draw many of the most influential policy makers in Washington to provide the latest information on legislation and regulation that affects credit unions and their ability to serve their members. The GAC’s on-point education sessions also will ensure credit unions are fully briefed on credit union legislative priorities, the impact of coming regulations, and grassroots political and campaign involvement strategies. As always, the conference will devote a day when credit union leaders deliver their message to Capitol Hill and meet personally with their state congressional delegations. “It’s important for meetings with members of Congress to take place year-round through such efforts as our Hike the Hill program. But the GAC is the one time during the year when thousands of credit union people are here together to deliver our message, tell our story and demonstrate our support to our friends on Capitol Hill,” says Mica. “As a former member of Congress, I can tell you for a fact that this has a great impact. But it all starts with you, and your own commitment to be involved and participate.” The 2010 GAC will again feature a special kickoff concert on Sunday evening, Feb. 21, presented by the CUNA Councils and preceded by a dessert reception in the Convention Center’s Grand Exhibit Hall. The band as well as more of the GAC’s featured general session speakers will be announced in the weeks to come. Watch CUNA’s News Now , on the CUNA website at www.cuna.org, and biweekly Credit Union NewsWatch newsletter for more details.