BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – What backers describe as a fairly young concept as a tool to help credit unions assist CU-friendly political candidates, has just taken a step toward maturity. CU-VOTE was established a couple of years ago as a complement to efforts by the Alabama Credit Union League to provide non-financial support to political candidates considered friendly to credit unions. CU-VOTE offers a variety of help to such candidates and has enrolled about 50 credit unions and league chapters as members. Until recently, the ACUL governmental affairs staff and the CU-VOTE board members have spearheaded activities. Now the organization has just hired Wesley Emmons as director. Emmons, who will have his office at ACUL headquarters, has worked for various candidates for state and federal office. Joe McGee, CEO of University Federal Credit Union and chairman of CU-VOTE, says until now the organization has been in a building mode. “It’s in its infancy. I think this is a fairly unique effort. I believe CUNA is beginning to organize some similar efforts. It’s awfully tough when you’ve got other jobs. I’ve been trying to run a credit union, and the league has been trying to carry out everything they’re involved in. We wanted somebody who could specifically focus their efforts on CU-VOTE and move it ahead,” McGee says. Emmons will plan and implement fund-raising for CU-VOTE, plan and conduct campaign schools, organize and direct volunteer teams, assist in public opinion polling, organize and execute get-out-the-vote drives, and direct efforts to raise public awareness of financial issues affecting consumers. “Most of the activity thus far has involved fundraising from various credit unions and chapters, and some limited activity as far as our advocacy role. We have gradually built the organization, which is a 501 (c) 6 organization,” McGee explains. That status means that while a credit union cannot contribute directly to a PAC, it can give money to CU-VOTE McGee cites CU-VOTE’s functions as outlined in its mission statement: *

To increase grassroots organization of credit unions, and to increase public awareness of credit unions. *

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