WASHINGTON -- Senate Minority Whip Trent Lott (R-Miss.), who has been friendly to credit unions, has announced that he will resign his Senate seat by year's end.
"We've had this great experience for these 35 years, but we do think that there is time left for us to maybe do something else," Lott said at his announcement with his wife by his side. He said he wants to make more time for family and will collaborate with the state and federal officials for a smooth transition.
Back in 1997, then-Senate majority leader Lott helped steer a Mississippi credit union CEO named Dennis Dollar to serve on the National Credit Union Administration Board. "As you know, Senator Lott played a vital role in my nomination and confirmation to serve on the NCUA Board in 1997," Dollar recalled. "He believed that a small town credit union CEO from the Mississippi Gulf Coast could make a positive difference for America's credit unions on the NCUA Board, and I will always be personally grateful for his vote of confidence when he lent his influence to help guide my nomination through the White House and my confirmation through the Senate."
"Although I will certainly miss his voice in the Senate from the personal perspective of a Mississippian, his was also an influential voice for credit unions that will be greatly missed as well," Dollar, now principle partner of Dollar Associates, LLC, said.
Former CUNA lobbyist John McKechnie, now director of Public and Congressional Affairs at NCUA, said he would always remember Lott for his tactical understanding during the fight to pass H.R. 1151. "He was supportive of the legislation, and yet was savvy enough about the sometimes arcane ways of the Senate to recognize that he couldn't push too hard too soon. I will always remember and admire Senator Lott for that approach."
John Magill, CUNA's current senior vice president of legislative affairs said that Lott has been "a great and solid friend to credit unions, with an open door to consider our needs and issues--and a wise voice about how was the best way for us to accomplish our legislative goals...We will miss his friendship and guidance, but we will be forever grateful."
Part of the reason for Lott's resignation, according to online political news source The Politico, was to beat the extension of a ban from one to two years on former lawmakers lobbying Congress, which is scheduled to take effect at the start of 2008. At his press conference Lott said he had no future professional plans but joked that he had already been turned down to coach football at Ole Miss.