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CUs ramp up for tomorrows elections
The Illinois Credit Union League (ICUL) met with U.S. congressional candidate Cheri Bustos.  Those attending  include (from left to right): Donald Edwards, ICUL senior vice president, federal governmental affairs; Joe Green, board vice chair, Cornerstone CU; Bustos; Wayne Radzi, board chair, Cornerstone CU; Gail Clore, CEO, Cornerstone CU; and Barrie Hendricksen, Northwest Illinois Chapter Legislative forum representative and chief financial officer, Cornerstone CU. (Photo provided by the Illinois Credit Union League)
MADISON, Wis. (11/5/12)--Credit unions nationwide have prepared for tomorrow's general election by educating candidates about credit unions and their issues and by backing candidates who are credit union supporters.

At the state level, all 186 legislative seats will be decided, and the league has endorsed 101 House and Senate candidates running for the Maine Legislature. Meanwhile, the race to determine who will replace retiring U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) will be decided. Last spring, the league was one of the first organi­zations to announce its support for former Maine Governor Angus King, Jr.'s candidacy in the U.S. Senate race.

In Maine's Second Congressional District, U.S.  Rep. Mike Michaud (D-2), a former credit union board member who is now an hon­orary credit union board member, again has the strong support of the league as he seeks a sixth term in the House of Representatives. In the First Congressio­nal District, two-term U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-1) has the support of the league as she runs for a third term.

Citadel FCU in Exton, Pa., hosted a breakfast fundraiser for U.S Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-6) on Oct. 23. In addition to Citadel CEO/President Jeff March and Citadel's management team, the breakfast was attended by several credit union leaders. Jim McCormack of Pennsylvania Credit Union Association and Rick Stipa of TruMark Financial were among the attendees. Gerlach is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and supports the work of credit unions. Pictured is the Host Committee, from left: Jim McCormack, PCUA; Jim McCrudden, Citadel; Rosemary Helm, Citadel; John Rothwell, Rothwell Business Solutions; Jeff March, Citadel; Rick Stipa, TruMark Financial; Gerlach; Ed Maier, Citadel; Brian Berry, Citadel; Curtis Baker, Citadel; Chris Pippett, Fox Rothschild; and Mike Schnably, Citadel. (Photo provided by Citadel FCU)
In New York, The Credit Union Association of New York's (CUANY) board of directors recently voted to endorse first-term U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna (R-Utica-Rome) in New York's 24th Congressional District. Hanna has developed strong relationships with the association and numerous credit unions.

"I look forward to continuing to support policies in Congress that allow upstate credit unions to assist our neighbors everyday with their financial needs," Hanna said. During his first term, Hanna co-sponsored priority legislation for credit union member business lending, supplemental capital, financial institution examination fairness and ATM fee disclosure reform.

"The association is as committed as ever to endorsing and electing pro-credit union candidates and Rep. Hanna is one such candidate," said William J. Mellin, CUANY president/CEO.

In Illinois, Cheri Bustos, Democratic candidate for the U.S. 17th Congressional District, was provided a forum by credit unions in northwestern Illinois in late October to discuss issues critical to credit unions in that area of the state, as well as other local matters, said the Illinois Credit Union League (ICUL).

The meet-and-greet event was held at Cornerstone CU's branch location in Sterling, Ill. The Northwestern Illinois Chapter of Credit Unions, which hosted the event, is home to more than 225,000 members.

Bustos is a former alderman for the city of East Moline, Ill. Her career also includes serving as a journalist as well as in public relations and communications for the not-for-profit healthcare industry for more than 20 years.

Through her work experience and as a member of a local credit union, she has gained a considerable appreciation for the not-for-profit industry, including credit unions, said the league. Bustos believes in the movement's "people helping people" philosophy and strongly supports maintaining the credit union member-owned, not-for-profit, cooperative structure, the league added.

Bustos also is endorsed by the CUNA's CULAC. Credit unions from the Northwest Illinois chapter are distributing a statement of support to their members prior to tomorrow's election.

In Virginia, on Wednesday, U.S Rep. Gerald "Gerry" Connolly (D-Va.) visited the Belvoir FCU branch in Woodbridge, Va. Being an advocate of credit unions and the credit union movement, Connolly wanted to gain a better understanding of what one credit union was doing to make a difference within the financial industry.

On Wednesday, U.S Rep. Gerald "Gerry" Connolly (D-Va.) visited the Belvoir FCU branch in Woodbridge, Va. From left,  (first row): Tisha Wallace, chief operating officer; Amy McConnell, eMarketing and Public Relations Specialist; Connolly; Dottye Bunch, facilities/project manager; From left, second row: Ken Worthey, marketing and communications specialist; Jason Lindstrom, chief marketing officer; Gaye DeCesare, COA; Jennifer Dorcsis, executive assistant; Mike Ligon, chief financial officer (Photo provided by Belvoir CU)
During Connolly's visit, Belvoir's executive and marketing teams discussed with him the credit union's active role within the credit union movement and the Fort Belvoir community, and the advantage credit unions provide their members, especially to those in the military.

Belvoir Federal's Chief Marketing Officer Jason Lindstrom and Chief Operating Officer Tisha Wallace discussed the impact the credit union makes with its members through specific loan products, such as the ARK Loan and the Credit Builder Loan, which were designed to help individuals in desperate need of financial assistance.

The executive team described how Belvoir has assisted members when they could not find funding elsewhere and educated members so they could eventually receive a mortgage or auto loan.

Connolly ended his visit to Belvoir FCU on a positive note by saying: "I have been a member of a credit union for over 34 years, so I know how they work. Now that I am in Congress, I support many credit unions … Your mission (at the credit union) is critical, and I think there are ways to educate those in Congress to show your position."

All of the candidates mentioned for national office--Hanna, King, Michaud, Bustos and Connolly--received maximun financial support from CULAC, Hawkins told News Now.


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