If credit unions aren’t at the table, then we are on it. This knowledge drives credit union leagues nationwide to participate in events like Hike the Hill, where league staff, credit union employees and – arguably most importantly – credit union members, visit lawmakers in Washington, DC. It is a direct and effective approach that delivers the credit union message loud and clear to our elected officials on Capitol Hill.
Due to the pandemic, much of those visits are now virtual – but they are just as critical and an important opportunity for the credit union voice to be heard by elected officials. Did you know that most lawmakers’ offices in DC are often so small, only a few credit union staff can comfortably fit for a meeting? Video conferences make it possible for more voices to be heard, including voices of those who are normally unable to travel to Washington, DC. Meeting virtually also enables credit unions to involve a much broader range of employees, which is a great way for credit unions to engage team members who are interested in advocacy. Plus, few can articulate the credit union difference like staff who are on the front lines helping members every day. In an election year, it’s especially important for lawmakers to see a large number as well as a wide range of people – voters! – passionate about credit union issues.
Whether heard virtually or in-person, our voice and our movement are powerful, but today’s legislative environment is increasingly cluttered by special interests and the big dollars that support them. At the Maine Credit Union League, we coordinate with CUNA and other credit union leagues across the country to ensure credit union policy priorities do not become background noise. Being present (even if it’s on a computer screen) matters. After all, no one can communicate the credit union difference and our People Helping People philosophy better than we can. This is one of the reasons why Maine makes it a priority to be very active in engaging our congressional delegation.
The ability of Hike the Hills to bring credit unions and credit union members together with their elected officials is critical – and has newfound potential with virtual Hikes. With elections just weeks away, I urge you to get in touch with your league and get involved, especially now that you can “visit DC” from your (home) office! Virtually or in person, your voice on Capitol Hill matters tremendously and is instrumental for the credit union movement’s continued success.