Credit unions regularly grow connections with legislators, as state and federal legislators vote on the issues that impact how credit unions operate and how (or if!) they can serve their members. Building awareness of what makes the industry unique, and their unique needs helps grow their understanding of how bills can impact for positive – or negative. Put simply, you want the people deciding on these important issues to your credit union to know the full picture!
These relationships, awareness and understanding are developed through regular lobbying on the bills that matter to the industry, through Hike the Hill visits between credit unions and Congress, public messaging to legislators, and local visits with state and federal legislators – as well as connecting with other state Leagues as well as outside industries to gain insight and grow relationships for future issues. Some of the most recent grassroots connections made on behalf of the industry:
- Brian Akin, North Georgia Credit Union has consistently developed relationships with his local elected leaders and has created the connection for credit unions early with a long line of the legislators who served the area. And while one of the state seats appears to be transitioning given the May primaries, the active political presence Akin has cultivated continues with engagement in the past two weeks. Our thanks to him and his credit union for connecting with legislators early in their careers!
- On June 15th GCUA met with state Rep. David Wilkerson (D-Powder Springs) … and while he has a good understanding of credit unions, this came about due to his personal connection with an area credit union (Credit Union of Georgia) when he was first elected in 2010. This meeting provided a window to discuss what would be beneficial to credit unions, the session ahead, the political forces and potential impact, and the upcoming elections.
- On June 19th, GCUA sat down with other state Leagues and CUNA to discuss collective strategy on a federal level, emerging issues seen in in other state legislatures, grassroots initiatives and campaign efforts. Much as it takes all of the credit unions in Georgia working together to create advocacy success, it takes the various states across the country working together to generate collective intel and coordinate large-scale success on a federal level!
- On June 20th GCUA met with state Rep. Bee Nguyen (D-Atlanta) & state Rep. Sam Park (D-Lawrenceville) to provide an overview of the industry, the impact of credit unions in their district, and the logic behind what bills are pursued (and what bills are fought) at the state level. Both of these legislators are in their first term of the legislature (with Rep. Nguyen sworn in December 2017), and this meeting with these two legislators was focused on creating the awareness and understanding of the industry early in their careers.