Creating Influence

Year in Review: Grassroots Efforts of Credit Unions

In looking back on 2019 the year brought a year of strong, successful legislative and political activity by credit unions in Georgia. Just in the state Legislature alone there were more than 340 bills lobbied for credit unions in the session, with several controversial issues being addressed in the most positive manner for credit unions (for the top 20 list, please click here).

These successes were not created by any one person, but rather a collective effort of all credit unions through 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. It’s the epitome of grassroots, and in 2019 there were over 500 credit union advocates who engaged in advocacy efforts on a state and federal level:

Federal Hikes/GAC: There were 151 people representing 30 credit unions and LSCU who met with members of Congress in Washington, D.C., at three separate Hike the Hill events:

State GAC: There were 76 credit union advocates who attended the State GAC/Grassroots Day for credit unions in 2019 … an impressive number in itself (we plan for 50), but even more so when one factors in that the event had to be rescheduled during the session due to a “snow” day and moved to April once the state session had adjourned!

In-District Meetings: Connecting with legislators happens beyond Washington, D.C., or the state Capitol in Atlanta; it happens at home in the districts. And more than 230 credit union people from 23 credit unions connected with 24 legislators at in-district Hike at Home meetings (with some meeting on multiple times during 2019!):

Included in the above are two separate legislative nights at chapters; in total there were three separate advocacy-focused chapter meetings and one credit union focused meeting in the year: Augusta (Legislative Night), Coastal Empire, and Chattahoochee Valley (Legislative Night), as well as BOND Community FCU incorporating a state-level advocacy overview for their Annual Meeting.

Proactive Regulator Engagement: Having open dialogue with federal and state legislators doesn’t happen by accident either, but rather through years of regular interactions built on positive discussions, frankness and a common desire for positive change. Credit unions were engaged in this throughout the year, along with the following meetings:

Political Advocacy: While 2019 was not an election year, credit unions were actively engaged in campaigns through the PACs. LSCU’s Georgia advocacy team attended over 190 political events throughout this year alone and was delighted to have 20 credit union advocates from seven separate credit unions connect with 12 legislators at in-district political and/or civic events around Georgia.

In addition, there were countless interactions between legislators and credit unions at hearings, legislative receptions, town halls, civic meetings and credit union annual meetings. Why is all of this activity important to you and what you do? 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 engaging with legislators today matters!

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