Engaging and building relationships with legislators is a key component to advocacy, and as such there is consistent effort to connect with elected leaders. When legislators know credit unions personally, it places an in-district face on the industry and creates a level of context on the issues. This does not happen overnight, and often does not happen with any one interaction – it is created in a systematic manner over time with many individuals (by many individuals!). Here are some of the most recent grassroots connections made on behalf of the industry, which provide three examples of the continual process in which these “seeds” are sown:
- Cultivating a Budding Connection: On June 7th GCUA sat down with Rep. Erick Allen (D-Smyrna) and his key staff to illustrate what bills matter to credit unions on a state level, gain a sense of what may arise in 2020, and grow understanding of the industry. Rep. Allen was elected at the end of 2019, and while a freshman with initially zero connection to the industry, he has been open and engaging on the issues as GCUA worked with him closely as he serves on the House Banking Committee.
- Intense Short-Focused Connection Growth: Over several days during the week of June 3rd, GCUA staff engaged with more than 50 state legislators and key staff (along with almost 100 lobbyists) at the Georgia Chamber Spring meeting. This venue provided an excellent opportunity to connect with new legislators and veteran legislators alike, grow relationships and awareness for the industry, and gain insight into the developing priorities in the state legislature, from tax proposals, film industry, Senate and House leadership, Democratic and Republican party leaders, as well as rural and agricultural initiatives.
- Reinforcing a Strong Connection: On May 31st GCUA sat down with Rep. David Wilkerson (D-Powder Springs) to discuss the past state legislative session as well as bills still in play for Georgia in 2020. Rep. Wilkerson has been a positive connection for credit unions ever since his first year in the legislature in 2011, as Credit Union of Georgia had a personal relationship with him prior and orchestrated the start of a connection for the industry.
We encourage all credit unions to reach out to their legislators, invite them to your credit union events, or just send them a message thanking them for their time serving on both the state and federal level. Each interaction helps plant the seeds for further growth, awareness and influence for the industry!