It’s time for the members of Congress to allow face-to-face meetings, CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle wrote in The Hill, the largest independent political news site in the United States, Thursday. Nussle’s opinion piece runs just over a week before thousands of credit union advocates begin traveling to Washington, D.C. for the 2022 CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference.
“Every day, I hear from credit union leaders, eager to speak with lawmakers about how they have helped consumers keep the lights on and stay in their homes throughout the pandemic. They also have a lot to say about limits on their ability to improve their members’ financial well-being,” he wrote. “The thing is, they can’t. Next week, when 4,000 leaders from the credit union movement come to Washington, only a fraction of them will be able to meet face-to-face with their elected representatives. Without those meetings, how can they have a say in the bills that could advance the communities they serve?”
Nussle—who served in Congress from 1991 to 2007—said there was nothing as rewarding during his time in office as meeting with his constituents who traveled to meet with him.
“Knowing that someone cared enough about an issue to come all the way from Iowa to share their thoughts and concerns meant the world. More importantly, shaking their hand and seeing the energy in their eyes, that face-to-face interaction went a long way to moving my stance on a fair number of issues,” he wrote.
“Zoom calls and Teams chats are a great backstop when safety concerns mean we need to be remote, but they can never replace the feeling and nuance that comes across in face-to-face engagement. Keeping lawmakers and staff safe is important, but surely proper vaccinations, masking, and so many other security measures put in place on the Capitol campus over the last two years are enough,” he added.