Credit union support for political candidates can make a big difference, especially in a close election. CUNA Deputy Chief Advocacy Officer for Political Action Trey Hawkins led a discussion Tuesday at the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) showing firsthand how credit unions can work on behalf of their supporters in Congress.
The discussion was between Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) and Alan Meyer, president/CEO of 1st MidAmerica CU, Bethalto, Ill.
Davis recently won his re-election bid in 2018 by a margin of around 2,000 votes. CUNA and the Illinois Credit Union League coordinated partisan communications to credit union households during the election.
“When credit unions in Illinois can send a piece of mail to their members talking about how we’re accessible and how we can move policies forward, I’d like to think that could have swayed at least 2,000 votes,” Davis said.
Meyer said they worked to ensure their communications stayed away from negative ads.
“We felt very strongly about the message being conveyed, how Rodney supports credit unions and the things that are important to credit union members,” Meyer said. “That’s a real key, it’s a positive piece that tells the member why Rodney needs to be in Congress to look out for credit unions.”
Davis said that forming relationships with legislators benefits leagues and credit unions, especially as individuals move from local and state offices to national ones.
“To be able to come in and immediately have an understand of the issues you face, allows us to move quickly beyond the education phase and into solving problems,” he said.
Both Davis and Allen offered tips from their perspectives to the credit union leaders who will be conducting Capitol Hill visits this week.
Davis implored those in attendance to use their time wisely, and focus on areas where they have real discussion, not just re-hashing issues that both sides are in agreement on.
“We can tell elected officials and their staff how our members are impacting their communities, what’s going on, tell them specific stories, and then tell the member of Congress what they can do to help us do it better,” Meyer said. “That’s the biggest thing, making sure you have specific examples from credit unions.”
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