WASHINGTON (3/3/08)—It’s a new conference venue, new hotels, but the same stellar
quality lineup of speakers and breakout sessions at the Credit Union National Association's (CUNA's) 2008 Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) March 2-6. After more than 30 years at the Washington Hilton, CUNA brings its GAC—and a record-breaking crowd—to the Washington Convention Center this year. CUNA expects a new high of 4,500 participants this year, including a record 580 first-time attendees. The conference dates coincide with a scheduled March 6 House Financial Services Committee hearing on the need for credit union regulatory relief and improvement, at which CUNA Vice Chairman Tom Dorety, CEO of Suncoast Schools FCU, Tampa, Fla., will testify. The 2008 GAC program features key members of the House and Senate, as well as all three members of the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) board. It kicks off on Tuesday with such speakers as retired Gen. Colin Powell, and NCUA Chairman JoAnn Johnson and Vice Chairman Rodney Hood. During Wednesday’s general session, a record 4,500 participants will hear from House Ways and Mean Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.), as well as that panel’s ranking minority member, Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), House Republican Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), who chairs the House Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit. Also, on Wednesday and Thursday respectively, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mt.) will address the GAC attendees. For the first time, the GAC was launched with a free Sunday evening concert, which featured “America,” the folk-rock duo well-known for their hits including “Horse with No Name” and “Sister Golden Hair.” And rounding out the program will be such notables as "Hardball" host Chris Matthews, singer Marie Osmond, known for her work with Children’s Miracle Network, and funnymen Robert Klein and Dave Barry. And as always, a prime feature and focus of the conference attendees will be to participate in Capitol Hill visits to talk to their representatives and senators about key issues of interest to the credit union movement. This year's GAC theme is "Red, White and You," featuring a patriotic design that emphasizes personal involvement in political action on behalf of the credit union movement and its 90 million members.