There are 236 state legislators in Georgia who make decisions on the bills that impact credit unions, and around 1,000 registered lobbyists (and several hundreds of people who come down to the state Capitol on any given session day). So how can credit unions make a difference? One way is through a consistent lobbying effort, but the other is through building relationships with the legislators – and not only through the members of the lobbying team, but more importantly as credit unions!
Credit unions engage with elected leaders in a variety of avenues to expand awareness and grow legislative influence. The most recent example was seen on July 11th when state Representative David Dreyer (D-Atlanta) sat down with credit unions from his district for an overview of what the industry is, and what’s important to them legislatively. Our thanks to 1st Choice CU, Credit Union of Atlanta, Delta Community CU, and Georgia’s Own CU for sitting down with Rep. Dreyer to build a relationship with this legislator.
While Rep. Dreyer is just into his second year with the Legislature, he is already an active member of the House Judiciary Committee, where many of the bills regarding lending, liens, foreclosures and operational issues are typically discussed. This meeting was sought specifically to build a positive connection, and to create context on the issues that will arise in the future.
In addition to meeting with legislators, it is also vital to broaden the network of connections across other industries from an advocacy perspective. These lobbyist connections are vital in gaining insight into other issues as well as growing the number of potential like-minded coalition partners for the future. On July 13th GCUA sat down with the lobbying side of Augusta University to create a relationship; our thanks to Health Center CU for connecting this. These connections are just one piece of successful grassroots strategy to gain insight on upcoming issues, as well as the time and effort educating and engaging legislators, credit union leaders and key political players to craft the type of relationships necessary to shape legislation.