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Ore. legislative lunch sweetens relationships with lawmakers
BEAVERTON, Ore. (2/19/14)--Oregon credit union advocates were easy to identify at the State Capitol Thursday. They wore bright yellow scarves and extended greetings with specially designed cookies featuring a silhouette of Oregon and birthday wishes to the state. During a very busy day in a short legislative session, Oregon credit unions were noticed, their stories were shared, and their message was heard.
 
Click to view larger image Pam Leavitt, the Northwest Credit Union Association's policy adviser for Oregon advocacy, sports one of the bright yellow scarves that Oregon credit union advocates wore in Salem Thursday.
More than 50 representatives from Oregon credit unions attended Legislative Lunch at the Capitol, where they heard from Pam Leavitt, the Northwest Credit Union Association's policy adviser for Oregon advocacy; several state legislators, including Sen. Ted Ferrioli (R-Creswell); and Patrick Allen, the director of the Department of Consumer and Business Services.
 
Most of the day was spent meeting with legislators and their aides in Capitol offices or in hallways outside the House and Senate chambers. For only the second time in the state's history, the Oregon Legislature is meeting for a short, 35-day session in 2014.
 
During longer sessions in odd-numbered years, the NWCUA sponsors a full Credit Union Day at the Capitol, including a financial reality fair and other special events. This year's tight schedule means not only that many of the most contentious bills may not be addressed, but also lawmakers will be more difficult to contact.
 
So when a weary Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem) stepped onto an elevator between legislative meetings, a cookie and kind words he received from Southern Oregon credit union advocates were an important contact, Leavitt said. 
 
"The goal isn't necessarily to meet with legislators," Leavitt said, "but just to say hello. We want them to know that we are in the Capitol today, and that credit union advocates will stay engaged every year in the legislative process."
 
Click to view larger image Representatives from Rogue CU, Medford, and Pacific Crest FCU, Klamath Falls, met with state Sen. Doug Whitsett (R-28), left. (Photos provided by Northwest Credit Union Association)
NWCUA President/CEO Troy Stang joined Mike Tierney, online banking manager at Unitus Community CU, Portland, for a visit to Barbara Smith Warner (D-Portland), the new state representative from Northeast Portland. "My dad once said, 'Open an account at a credit union and never close it,'" Smith Warner told them.
 
Representatives from Rogue CU, Medford--including Laura Chadick, mortgage delivery manager; Bruce Hearnsberger, senior relationship manger; and Andrew Staley, financial adviser--joined Kathie Philp, president/CEO of Pacific Crest FCU, Klamath Falls, for afternoon meetings with Sens. Herman Baertschiger Jr. (R-Grants Pass) and Doug Whitsett (R-Klamath Falls).
 
Rachel Pross, the director of compliance and legislative affairs at Northwest Community CU, Springfield, and Jim McCarthy, president/CEO of Trailhead CU, Portland, delivered cookies and shared the credit union message with Reps. Val Hoyle (D-West Eugene/Junction City) and Paul Holvey (D-Eugene) and Sen. Chris Edwards (D-Eugene).
 
The advocates' efforts--and the cookies--appeared to have made an impression. During the afternoon Leavitt received a text message from House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland) that read: "Thanks for the cookie."


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