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WASHINGTON-Credit union activists in the nation’s Capitol have been coming and going throughout 2002, including trade association employees, as well as the federal regulator and key members of Congress. Most notably, the president replaced two-thirds of the NCUA Board in January of this year. NCUA Board Member JoAnn Johnson joined the board after serving in the Iowa State Legislature since 1994. She is the daughter-in-law of former NCUA Executive Director Don Johnson. She also hired Schedule C appointee Executive Assistant Julie Starnes, when she came to the agency. Additionally, NCUA Board Member Deborah Matz came to NCUA from the United Nations and prior to that the Department of Agriculture. Her executive assistant, Nancy Smith, was another new face at NCUA this year. Johnson’s term will run through August 2, 2007, while Matz’s is scheduled to expire August 2, 2005. Also at NCUA, Inspector General Frank Thomas retired this year and was replaced by Herb Yolles, former NCUA deputy director of Examination and Insurance and Central Liquidity Facility president. NCUA’s Office of Public and Congressional Affairs also welcomed Special Assistant for Legislative Affairs Gail Galvan and Writer/Editor Molly Schar. While, CUNA President and CEO Dan Mica survived the seven-year jinx of CUNA leaders, others at the mega-credit union trade decided to call it quits. CUNA Legislative Affairs Manager Jennifer Gore left CUNA to accept a position as press secretary with the House Financial Services Committee on the Democratic side. On the other hand, CUNA Legislative Affairs Manager Leon Peace jumped aboard the credit union train this year, defecting from the American Bankers Association. NAFCU’s lobbying staff was particularly shook up this year. Brad Thaler was promoted from associate director to director of legislative and political affairs after Charlie Frohman left to work at the Cato Institute, a non-profit, public policy research group founded in 1977 in Washington, D.C. Murray Chanow, who had held the director position before Frohman, went from a part-time lobbyist following the birth of his son back to full-time senior legislative representative. Additionally, NAFCU Associate Directors of Legislative Affairs Debbie Kwon-Moore and Dillon Shea joined the trade association’s legislative team this year. Former Associate Director of Legislative Affairs Kelleen Trauger left the organization after the birth of her daughter. On the Hill, congressmen with jurisdiction over credit union issues got a bit stirred up too. Senate Banking Committee Ranking Member Phil Gramm (R-Texas) chose to retire this year, but his shoes will be filled by the Senate Banking Committee Chairman-elect Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), who is very interested in strengthening privacy laws for financial institutions and others, as well as regulatory relief. Credit union supporter House Financial Services Ranking Member John LaFalce (D-N.Y.) also chose to retire this year, rather than run against a fellow Democratic incumbent due to redistricting. At the very end of the session, LaFalce introduced controversial credit union regulatory relief legislation that would have held state chartered credit unions to the authorities of federals. Congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) will take LaFalce’s spot as House Financial Services ranking member. A key loss in the House for credit unions this election cycle was Congressman George Gekas (R-Pa.), author of H.R. 333, the Bankruptcy Abuse Reform and Consumer Protection Act. He lost to fellow credit unions supporter Congressman Tim Holden (D-Pa.) in an incumbent-versus-incumbent race forced by redistricting. Also in the House, Financial Services Committee Member Marge Roukema (R-N.J.), a credit union friend, after retired this session. Newcomers to the House supported by the credit union community include Mike Michaud (D-Maine), who also serves as a credit union board member, and teacher Rob Bishop (R-Utah). On the Senate side, credit union supporter, but ardent opponent of the bankruptcy reform bill, Senator Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.) was killed in a plane crash just weeks before the election. Additionally, 100 year-old Judiciary Committee Member Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.) retired at the end of the 107th Congress. [email protected]

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