CHARLOTTE, N.C. (9/3 /12)--The Democratic National Convention (DNC) kicks off today with a day of family-oriented activities prior to the launch of official convention events, and credit union representatives, including staff from the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and the state credit union leagues, are here to raise the profile of credit unions and credit union issues during this convention week.
The DNC is hosting today's CarolinaFest 2012: An American Celebration, which it hails as an opportunity to experience the best of the Carolinas' food and culture, excellent entertainment, and the "rare opportunity to witness history in the making." Talent such as James Taylor, Jeff Bridges, and Janelle Monae is being featured.
The Monday through Thursday convention will culminate in President Barack Obama's acceptance of the Democratic Party's nomination to be the 2012 candidate for president.
Credit union participation in the DNC, as well as in last week's Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., follows a long tradition, started in 1988, of keeping credit unions and the credit union philosophy of "people helping people" in the national spotlight at the political conventions.
This week's credit union activities come on the heels of a successful RNC presence, which included the participation of Ann Romney--wife of Republican presidential candidate Mitt--participating in a CUNA- and league-sponsored event.
Ann Romney helped CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney and representatives from CUNA, the Southeastern Credit Union Foundation, the League of Southeastern Credit Unions, the National Journal Group, CUNA Mutual Group, CO-OP Financial Services and others at a ribbon cutting ceremony for a new therapeutic playground at All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg.
At the top of her remarks at the ribbon cutting ceremony, Romney thanked credit unions for their fundraising efforts, which made the playground project possible.
A comparable "leave-behind" project will be a credit union highlight this week in Charlotte when, on Wednesday, credit unions will unveil a renovated rooftop playground for young patients at Levine Children's Hospital--a project that has been in the design and creation process for many months.
Assistant House Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) will join CUNA CEO Bill Cheney and National Journal Editor-in-Chief Ron Fournier in cutting the ribbon on the playground.
Also during the convention, CUNA is a sponsor of the National Journal's Convention Daily Briefings, which will feature party newsmakers here, as it did in Tampa.
The on-site events feature moderators such as Ron Brownstein, a two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of presidential campaigns and National Journal Group's editorial director; Chuck Todd, the chief White House correspondent for NBC News; Good Morning America co-host George Stephanopoulo;, and NBC correspondent Chelsea Clinton, as well as speakers and panelists such as Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and former Republican senator from Mississippi Trent Lott.
On Wednesday, CUNA, CUNA Mutual Group, state credit union leagues, and credit unions will host an event to honor all delegates attending the convention at the Aria Tuscan Grill Restaurant.
In addition to delegates, every Democratic member of the U.S. Congress has been invited and as of late last week more than 200 total invitees had accepted the initiation. CUNA expects 250-300 to attend.
This, and a similar event at the RNC in Tampa, serve to draw convention dignitaries to a credit union-sponsored event to highlight credit unions, their operating philosophy of "people helping people," and credit union issues.
Trey Hawkins, CUNA vice president of political affairs, says CUNA participation in the national conventions overall is "an opportunity to continue to develop our political brand." Hawkins adds, "The conventions are an opportunity to talk to and communicate with all of the policy and media and political elites in one place. That's an opportunity we want to take on behalf of credit unions."
Watch CUNA's News Now and its Twitter-fed updates on NewsNowLiveWire for up-to-the-minute coverage of credit union involvement at the DNC this week