Incoming CUNA board chair Brett Martinez's address at CUNA GAC Tuesday was one of many highlights throughout a day of general and breakout sessions.

Pence address, Awareness lead GAC Tue., hill visits set for Wed.

March 13, 2019

Vice President Mike Pence’s address to the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) was one of the highlights of the GAC agenda Tuesday, but a lot more happened during the last full day of sessions at the largest credit union event in history.

Pence praised credit unions for their work in communities across America and called them “part of everything good happening in America.”

Tuesday’s keynote address was given by author Malcolm Gladwell, who told the stories of three organizations in recent history that faced a crisis of consumer perception, but turned themselves around.

The day also featured discussions on regulatory, legislative and awareness issues led by CUNA staff, including:

  • CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle welcoming NCUA Chair J. Mark McWatters and board member Rick Metsger for a talk about cooperation and compromise;
  • CUNA Chief Operating Officer Jill Tomalin hosting a panel discussion on the past, present and future of the Open Your Eyes to a Credit Union campaign;
  • CUNA Deputy Chief Advocacy Officer for Political Action Trey Hawkins leading a session on how credit unions can work on behalf of their supporters in Congress.

CUNA also welcomed a new board and board chair. Brett Martinez, president/CEO of Redwood CU, Santa Rosa, Calif., will lead the CUNA board for 2019-2020. With 33 years of experience working in credit unions, Martinez called on credit union leaders to become personal advocates.


Pence wasn’t the only politician to address the audience Tuesday, others included:

  • Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), who thanked credit unions for their support of S. 2155, and said his goal was housing finance reform;
  • Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), who said the credit union “people helping people” motto should be deployed to more sectors of American life; and
  • Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), chair of the Senate Banking Committee, who addressed his goals for this year, which include housing finance reform, data security and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reforms.

Wednesday’s agenda at CUNA GAC features another lineup of influential members of Congress and a keynote address from former White House Press Secretary Dana Perino in the morning.

In the afternoon more than 500 credit union leaders will meet with the office of every member of Congress on Capitol Hill to discuss credit union priorities and concerns for 2019 and beyond.

►Read more conference coverage from CUNA News, and get live updates on Twitter via @CUNA_News,@cumagazine, @CUNA, and by using the #CUNAGAC hashtag. You can also follow the conference on Facebook and Instagram. For a complete schedule and information on keynote speakers and breakout sessions, visit the CUNA GAC event page.