WASHINGTON – CUNA said that its recent use of streaming video, which it invited recipients to view from an e-mail, has already begun to draw responses and that it exploits current changes to the lobbying industry in Washington D.C. The video contains three 90-second clips from Rep. Michael Oxley (R-Ohio) and two other supporters of Oxley’s regulatory relief initiative. Gary Kohn, Senior Vice President for Legislative Affairs and other CUNA officials reported that they have received e-mails from credit union leagues that received the e-mail and viewed the video, as well as from the CEO’s of credit unions which were forwarded the email from their leagues. Richard Gose, Vice President for Political Affairs explained that the using the e-mail link to the video in August exploited some of the changes Washington has made to the way it does business since the attacks of September 11, 2001. “The old model used to be the old lady in the home district who wrote a handwritten note to her congressman was the most highly praised form of constituent feedback,” Gose explained. “But now all that mail is being irradiated and it’s taking them months to get it,” he said. E-mail and phone contacts sparked by communication vehicles like the streaming e-mail have been gaining in importance, he added. Gose also pointed out that in many ways the flexible new methods of communication were more suited to the contemporary information age. “Now when a bunch of e-mails comes in on a given topic they can easily be put into a computer folder until the legislator can have a chance to get back to the office to see them.” The new Washington communications dynamic also favors communication efforts in August, a month when the business of government has been traditionally slow. According to political and lobbying sources, the slower communication in Washington has meant that some legislators have emphasized their district offices more in constituent services and contacts. This gibes with why CUNA chose to make this video effort in August, according to John McKechnie, CUNA’s senior vice president for governmental affairs. “There is more emphasis now on congressional representatives seeing at least some of their constituents face to face,” McKechnie said, adding that with the crowded legislative calendar facing the Congress when it returns in September, it is especially important to motivate the credit union grassroots in August. “I have had e-mail in response to the streaming video from CEOs that I hardly ever hear from,” McKechnie said. Some of the CEOs told him they had watched the video in order to refocus on an issue to which they had not paid attention in a while. The goal is to get credit union supporters to reach their legislators with their interest during the month of August, McKechnie explained, adding that even one contact would be better than none at all. [email protected]utimes.com

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