Welcome to this year’s Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC). You are a part of another impressive turnout, and it’s great to see each one of you. We all have a big job ahead of us this week.
The 112th Congress is dramatically different than its predecessor. With more than 100 new members, the freshmen class is huge by historical standards. They’re an integral part of a new Congress that has made deficit reduction a driving priority.
In this environment, it’s more important than ever for us to ensure that not only the freshmen, but all members of this Congress truly understand what sets credit unions apart from banks and the benefits we—as not-for-profit, member-owned cooperatives—offer millions of consumers and small businesses.
You can help us educate legislators about credit union uniqueness and the issues at the top of our agenda during this week’s Capitol Hill visits. We will lobby strongly for supplemental capital, raising the cap on member business lending, and creating a regulatory environment that does not impose excessive and unnecessary burdens on credit unions.
The GAC is also our opportunity to hear collectively from top decision-makers. Several of Washington’s most influential people are appearing on our general session stage this week.
Finally, I urge you to make the most of all the GAC has to offer—informative breakout sessions, a large and vibrant exhibit hall, unparalleled networking opportunities, and terrific entertainment, starting with the still-fabulous “Three Dog Night” at our Sunday evening kickoff concert.
Though I’ve been to many GACs during my 25 years in the credit union movement, this is my first since becoming CUNA’s president and CEO in July. I look forward to sharing this experience with you and to all that we will accomplish together.
BILL CHENEY is the president/CEO of CUNA.