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Leagues assess election results in five states
MADISON, Wis. (11/5/10)--Leagues across the nation are taking stock of state election results and assessing how the results may impact credit unions and how well candidates who were credit union friends fared. The Maine Credit Union League reported a 91% success rate, with 95 of 106 candidates endorsed by the league and credit unions winning their races. Seven endorsed candidates in the Maine House were still waiting results of their races. All four credit union board members running in the Maine House were victorious--Rep. Herb Clark, vice chair of Katahdin FCU, and Rep. Michael Lajoie, vice-chair at Lewiston Municipal FCU, were both re-elected, while Ken Fredette, board member at Sebasticook Valley FCU, and John Picciotti, chair at KSW FCU, won their House races. "Because of our strong bipartisan support of candidates from both parties, the league and Maine's credit unions are well-positioned when the new legislature convenes in January," said John Murphy, league president. "Despite all of the uncertainty with the elections, [the league and credit unions] had a very strong night at the ballot box," he added. "Having four credit union board members in the Maine House is a significant achievement." The Missouri Credit Union Association (MCUA) noted that the Missouri Senate is now composed of eight Democrats and 26 Republicans while the Missouri House has 106 Republicans and 57 Democrats (The Missouri difference Nov. 3). Two Democratic incumbent credit union supporters in the Missouri Senate--Frank Barnitz and Wes Shoemyer--lost their races to former state representatives ,while five Democratic supporters in the state house--Vicki Lorenz Englund, Sam Komo, Jeff Roorda, Michael Frame and Luke Scavuzzo--lost their races. "We're fortunate to have supporters on both sides of the aisle in the General Assembly," said Peggy Nalls, MCUA senior vice president of public and legislative affairs. "In this election, we saw national issues affect local voting significantly more than we've experienced in the past 15 years. That benefited Republican challengers. Republicans remain in the majority in the Missouri Senate and House … just by a greater margin." The North Carolina Credit Union League noted that Republicans made great gains in the state House and Senate as the state faces another year of budget shortfalls running in the billions of dollars (Decision 2010: What's Next for Credit Unions? Nov. 3). For the first time since 1898, Republicans control the North Carolina Senate, said the league. "Although there is a new political landscape in both Washington and Raleigh, the [league] will continue to work with all lawmakers to ensure the needs of our state's credit unions and their members are met," said the league. As the state General Assembly and U.S. Congress begin their sessions, "league and [Credit Union National Association] staff will be discussing the interests of credit unions with both old friends and new faces alike." In Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA) noted Republicans were victorious on the state-level elections and will control the governor's office as well as both chambers of the state legislature. Attorney General Tom Corbett won the gubernatorial race by a vote of 54% to 45%, and Bucks County Commissioner Jim Cawley will take the lieutenant governor's spot (Life is a Highway Nov. 3). "The association, along with its outside lobbyist and member credit unions, had frequent communication with the Corbett campaign," said PCUA President/CEO Jim McCormack. "We hope to play a role in the transition, particularly with respect to the Department of Banking and financial services matters." In Ohio, Republicans gained 13 seats in the House of Representatives and will continue to control the Ohio Senate with a 23-10 majority. Long-time credit union champion State Rep. William G. Batchelder, who sponsored the recodification of the Ohio Credit Union Act and co-sponsored a public funds deposits measure in 1986, is expected to become Ohio House Speaker , said the Ohio Credit Union League's 2010 Election Insight Update (Nov. 3). In the Ohio Senate, Sen. Tom Niehaus is expected to be named the new Senate president. Niehaus has visited several credit unions and is always willing to discuss issues, said the league. The next legislative session will see at least 40 new members in the Ohio House . The league plans to host meetings to educate new members about credit unions and their legislative issues and priorities, and regular interactions will be continued with credit union friends still in office. "The 129th General Assembly will be presented with many challenges due to the continued stresses on Ohio's economy, a considerable state budget shortfall, high unemployment, and changes in the statewide offices and the General Assembly," said the league. "In turn, this will also present challenges for credit unions, as well as opportunities to participate in programs and initiatives regarding business lending, consumer lending, and financial education," it added. All the leagues in this story said they are taking measures to meet with the electees and leaders of both parties so they can educate about credit unions and their issues.


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