Loss Of Long-Time CU Supporter Kanjorski Is Mourned

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WILKES-BARRE, Penn.-In the biggest loss for credit unions in last week's elections, Democrat Paul Kanjorski, the long-time credit union champion in Congress, lost his bid for a 14th term.

Kanjorski, always a reliable sponsor of credit union legislation, was bested by Republican Lou Barletta, the mayor of the city of Hazelton, who lost to Kanjorski twice before, in 2002 and in 2008. The vote was 55% to 45%, with 97% of precincts reporting.

"We're disappointed that he lost and we thank him for all that he's done for credit unions over the years," Brad Thaler, senior lobbyist for NAFCU, told Credit Union Journal. But the NAFCU lobbyist was also confident that credit unions will find another champion to take Kanjorski's place. "Credit unions have always been well-positioned and they've always enjoyed bipartisan support and we're looking forward to having a lot of new friends in the 112th Congress."

Kanjorski has been the most reliable credit union supporter in the House since his sponsorship of HR 1151, the 1998 CU Membership Access Act, and he has sponsored several regulatory relief bills since then, as well as last year's corporate credit union bailout. A reliable supporter in the House is critical for interest groups such as the credit union lobby because most legislation starts in the House before making its way over to the Senate.

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