Creating Influence

Year in Review: Georgia Grassroots Efforts

This year is almost at a close, with a wide variety of legislative and political issues on the state and federal levels already on the horizon for 2018. Credit unions make a positive impact on the issues and help shape them to protect and advance the industry through creating influence with legislators. Credit union influence is developed by building relationships with elected leaders, sharing perspective on bills, and putting a local in-district face on the industry – something that happens continually and strategically. And in 2017, credit unions across Georgia were actively engaged in this manner to grow legislative influence for the industry – significantly so. In 2017 there were:

160-plus people representing 32 credit unions met with members of Congress in Washington, D.C., at four Hike the Hill events (January swearing-in, February/March GAC, GCUA Staff Hike in July, September Hike the Hill).

More than 200 credit union people connected with 22 legislators and key staff at 16 in-district Hike at Home meetings:

  1. U.S. Rep. Rick Allen (R-12)
  2. U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-2)
  3. U.S. Rep. Jody Hice (R-10)
  4. U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-11)
  5. U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall (R-7)
  6. State Sen. Matt Brass (R-Newnan)
  7. State Sen. Ed Harbison (D-Columbus)
  8. State Sen. William Ligon (R-Brunswick)
  9. Senate President Pro Tem David Shafer’s (R-Duluth) key staff
  10. State Sen. Blake Tillery (R-Vidalia)
  11. State Rep. Beth Beskin (R-Atlanta)
  12. State Rep. Roger Bruce (D-Atlanta)
  13. State Rep. Debbie Buckner (D-Junction City)
  14. State Rep. Barry Fleming (R-Harlem)
  15. State Rep. Meagan Hanson (R-Brookhaven)
  16. State Rep. Carolyn Hugley (D-Columbus)
  17. State Rep. Howard Mosby (D-Atlanta)
  18. State Rep. Sheila Nelson (D-Augusta)
  19. State Rep. Jason Ridley (R-Chatsworth)
  20. State Rep. Calvin Smyre (D-Columbus)
  21. State Rep. Brian Strickland (R-McDonough)
  22. State Rep. David Wilkerson (D-Austell)

Included are two chapters that hosted legislators: the Augusta Chapter and the Chattahoochee Valley Chapter. In addition, there were another three chapters that had advocacy-focused meetings to educate staff and board on the legislative issues: Northeast Georgia Chapter, Southeast Georgia Chapter, and South Georgia Chapter. A special thank you to Associated CU for holding an advocacy-focused all-staff team training in 2017 as well.

In addition, there were countless interactions between legislators and credit unions at hearings, chamber events, town halls, civic meetings and credit union annual meetings. Credit unions were also invited to participate in two separate swearing-in ceremonies (U.S. Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-3), State Sen. Nikema Williams (D-Atlanta)), and State Rep. Chuck Efstration (R-Dacula) provided credit unions a private conference call to review the power of attorney law changes in advance. And from a political “PAC” perspective, there was just as heavy activity throughout 2017. GCUA attended 150-plus political events throughout the year, and was delighted to have credit unions engage with in-district political events for 10 legislators, including one credit union specific event:

  1. “Credit Union Fundraiser” orchestrated to support U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall (R-7)
  2. Kinetic CU engaged at event for U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-2)
  3. Robins Financial CU with U.S. Rep. Austin Scott (R-8)
  4. Peach State FCU with State Sen. PK Martin (R-Lawrenceville)
  5. Robins Financial CU with State Rep. Shaw Blackmon
  6. Platinum FCU with State Rep. Terry England
  7. Health Center CU and Augusta VAH FCU with State Rep. Jodi Lott (R-Evans)
  8. Coosa Valley CU with State Rep. John Meadows (R-Calhoun)
  9. Coosa Valley CU with State Rep. Trey Kelley (R-Cedartown)
  10. North Georgia CU with State Rep. Alan Powell (R-Hartwell)

Legislators can make the difference in any bill, and their understanding of credit unions (and how they feel about the industry) can drastically impact the direction of legislation. Our thanks to all the credit unions that engage in this effort regularly, whether at Hike the Hill, Hikes at Home, engaging in campaign activities, inviting legislators to visit branches for tours, and engaging personally to create a relationship with a legislator. What you do matters!

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