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Montana CU Network trains candidates on getting elected
GREAT FALLS, Mont. (1/10/08)--The Montana Credit Union Network (MCUN) has partnered with two other organizations to hold day-long classes to help potential political candidates run for office.
Credit Union National Association Political Director Trey Hawkins addresses the issue of campaign fundraising during the 2006 Campaign Academy held in Billings, Mont.
The Campaign Academy is based on a national curriculum, covering a range of issues from demographics to campaign finance rules. The nonpartisan event is held every other year (Great Falls Tribune Jan. 8). “The Montana Credit Union Network's participation goes far beyond simple sponsorship,” Beth Satre, MCUN director of communications and public relations, told News Now. “We do put in some money, but we also work closely with our other two partner organizations--the Montana Rural Electric Cooperative Association and the Montana Chamber of Commerce to plan, organize, and help publicize the campaign academies.” While the bulk of the training is provided by people from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and the Credit Union National Association, MCUN works to balance that focus by recruiting local experts in communications, Get Out The Vote, state election and reporting laws, as well as elected officials to give participants information from a Montana-based perspective, Satre said.
Kathy Holte (left) and Alice Kranzler, both of Plentywood, Mont., compare notes at the 2006 Campaign Academy in Billings. Holte subsequently ran a successful campaign and was elected County Treasurer in Montana's Sheridan County in November 2006. (Photos provided by the Montana Credit Union Network)
Spreading the word about the campaign academies is another area that MCUN works on--it can offer sound training, but it also needs to get people there, she added. “We help organize these one-day, nonpartisan campaign academies because we believe they're a great value for Montana as well as the people who attend,” Satre said. “They provide a good forum for participants to gain nuts-and-bolts information, explore their options, and get a realistic idea of what it means to run effective campaigns. We need to encourage Montanans who are interested in public service to run for public office, whether it be for a local, county, or state office. “And, as one academy graduate who went on to be elected to the Montana Supreme Court said, ‘The program opens the door to the political process for the average Montanan,’” Satre concluded.

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