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Leagues capture GAC Hill visit highlights
WASHINGTON (3/3/14)--State credit union leagues were ebullient in sharing their experiences at the Credit Union National Association's 2014 Governmental Affairs Conference, particularly after the release of a draft tax reform proposal that maintained credit unions' tax status.
Representatives from Rhode Island met with Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D) during CUNA's Governmental Affairs Conference. Joseph Lajoie, Greenwood CU (left); Ken Poyton, Postal Government Employees FCU; Ellen Ford, The Peoples CU; David Suvall, Rhode Island CU; Randy Sacilotto, Navigant CU; Robert Falso, Westerly Community CU; Gary Furtado, Navigant CU; Sen. Whitehouse; Paul Gentile, Credit Union Association of Rhode Island; George Charette, Pawtucket CU; Steven White, Westerly Community CU; and Ken Saunders, Community and Teachers CU. (Daily CU Scan photo)
"Learning that the discussion draft of the tax bill left any mention of taxing credit unions out was great news!" exclaimed Don Cohenour, president/CEO Missouri Credit Union Association ( Missouri Difference Feb. 27).
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) released a comprehensive tax reform discussion draft, leaving the credit union tax status untouched (See News Now : CUNA letter thanks Camp for helping CUs follow their mission.)
"We need to remember that this success is due to the constant attention of CUNA staff and every state league that is active in advocacy," Cohenour said. Credit union staff, volunteers also were lauded for their advocacy. "As consumers and voters, they got and held the attention of the writers of this discussion draft that we are a force to be reckoned with," he said.
Delegates from Camp's home state of Michigan met with his legislative director Adam Pradko Wednesday ( Monitor Feb. 26). Michigan Credit Union League President/CEO Dave Adams said, "We should ready ourselves to give thanks to our Michigan delegation who played such an important role in helping to preserve our critically important tax exempt status."
During MCUL's legislative lunch, Pradko accepted the league's federal legislative staffer of the year award on behalf of Ryan Tarrant, Camp's constituent relations representative. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) also attended the luncheon and received the league's award for federal legislator of the year.
Forty attendees from Kansas met with all six members of the state's Congressional delegation Wednesday and discussed comprehensive tax reform, merchant data breaches, and member business lending.
New York credit union advocates met with Rep. Michael Grimm (R-Staten Island), who recently co-sponsored the supplemental capital bill. (Credit Union Association of New York photo)
Stephanie Carl, marketing and public relations supervisor, Corning (N.Y.) FCU, was part of the New York credit union contingent. "It's clear that we have some very solid relationships with our New York legislators and their staff, and that they respect the work we do," she said ( The Point Feb. 28).
Credit Union Association of New York President/CEO William Mellin said, "We saw this week just how large of an impact we can have on the legislative process by continually working together."
"With a record number of credit union advocates, it was standing room only in many of the offices," said Jennifer Wagner, senior vice president for advocacy, Northwest Credit Union Association ( Anthem Feb. 28). "Our tax status was preserved in Rep. Camp's comprehensive tax reform proposal. Reps. (Denny) Heck and (Derek) Kilmer delivered powerful speeches from the main stage at the GAC. It was a great day to be a Northwest credit union advocate."
Montana credit unions were able to meet with their three Congressional delegates, including Sen. John Walsh (D), who was sworn in Feb. 11. It was the first GAC experience for Walsh, who took the seat of Max Baucus, now ambassador to China. Walsh is so new that the credit union visits accounted for two of his first five Twitter posts.
Joe Bergeron, president/CEO, Association of Vermont Credit Unions, released a post-conference video that collected the reactions of Vermont attendees ( NewsLines Express Feb. 28).  Art Woolf, a first-time attendee and director from New England FCU, Williston, was impressed by the exhibit hall--filled with a record number of vendors. "I was fascinated about how the credit union industry works and the behind-the-scenes companies that are helping make it work," he said.


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