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CU-backed Bonamici wins House seat
WASHINGTON (2/2/12)--Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.), who touted increased member business lending (MBL) for credit unions as part of her platform, easily defeated Republican opponent Rob Cornilles in Tuesday's special election for Oregon First District U.S. House seat, garnering 53.8% of the total vote.

Bonamici made her support for member business lending a key part of her campaign and platform, telling a local television station that supporting MBL legislation would be one of her first acts after she took office. She also promoted increasing the MBL cap in a YouTube video. (See Jan. 31 story, Bonamici touts MBLs in House-seat contest.)

Click to view larger image Northwest Credit Union Association representatives and credit union supporters pose with special election winner Suzanne Bonamici (second from right). Bonamici has pledged to support MBL cap increase legislation, as she did during her campaign, once she is sworn in to Congress later this month. (Northwest Credit Union Association photo)
Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) Director of Legislative Advocacy Jennifer Wagner said the association is grateful for Bonamici's early support of raising the MBL cap, and looks forward to working with her. "In Suzanne Bonamici, we will have a champion who supports credit unions and their members," she added.

The NWCUA and the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) supported the long-time credit union backer in the Democratic primary and the more recent special election, and Oregon credit unions backed Bonamici with phone bank and neighborhood canvassing efforts. Oregon credit unions, and CUNA's Credit Union Legislative Action Council (CULAC), also financially backed her campaign.

Bonamici has said she is "honored" by the chance to serve her district, and said she would focus on job creation, ensuring small businesses have access to funding, and promoting balanced consumer protection laws once she takes office. She will replace former Rep. David Wu (D), who resigned last year.

The newly elected congresswoman is expected to be sworn in soon, and will need to run again in November's general elections to maintain her seat.

Oregon's first district extends from the greater Portland area into Yamhill, Washington, and Columbia counties, as well as the coastal county of Clatsop. It is a largely Democratic district. Half of the district's 414,515 registered voters cast ballots in the special election.

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