Sponsors Helping Small Cal., Nev. CUs Attend GAC

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The California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues will be sending approximately 250 representatives to CUNA's Government Affairs Conference in Washington this week. An official for the California league said, like a football team, the goal is to be on offense rather than defense.

Kelly Purcell, director of federal governmental affairs for the CCUL, told The Credit Union Journal representatives from the two states will have plenty on their agendas.

"We will communicate with the legislators and let them know we want to create our own future," she said. "Important issues include regulatory relief, bankruptcy reform and lifeline financial services. We want to drive our own agenda. Instead of being on defense, we want to be proactive in advocating legislation that is best for our members."

The delegation will include 20 representatives from small California CUs, thanks to the generosity of the Golden State's larger credit unions, Purcell said. Through the "Credit Union Partnership For Advocacy," CUs that normally do not have a voice at a high-profile event such as the GAC will be able to participate in advocacy efforts.

"The sponsorship of small credit unions formerly was an informal thing, but now it is official," she said. "The movement really is about the totality of credit unions, not just the large ones or the small ones. This will help small credit unions be a part of things in D.C."

What's On The Agenda

Activities will begin Feb. 27 with a legislative briefing for all members from California and Nevada. That evening, there will be a reception for the Nevada league. On Feb. 28, a "lunch and learn" luncheon will feature Henry Kertman, the California league's director of communications. Kertman will update members on the public advocacy campaign, which currently is running on radio stations in the two states. That evening, California's Shapiro Group of small CUs will have a dinner.

"For a lot of the Shapiro Group credit unions, it will be their first trip to the GAC. It will let them ask questions," said Purcell.

On March 1, most of the California delegation and some of the Nevada members will have lunch with Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA), who recently was selected as the new chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, which oversees the federal government's major spending bills. That afternoon, 50 people will attend a taping of CNN's "Crossfire" television program.

The activities wrap up March 2 with a fundraising breakfast for Rep. Joe Baca (D-CA). Baca, who in the previous congressional session introduced a bill that would have authorized federally chartered CUs to offer check cashing and money orders to anyone, regardless of field of membership, will address the group on lifeline financial services issues, Purcell said.

"After the breakfast, we will visit all 60 legislators from California and Nevada-which is a logistical challenge," she said. That evening, the two state groups will have a reception and dinner at the Credit Union House. "We are looking forward to a successful trip. Folks are excited about going."

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