ARLINGTON, Va. – As the November elections near, a credit union related candidate has emerged in the zany slate of candidates in California's gubernatorial recall election. Meanwhile another credit union leader fights for a state senate slot in Mississippi. The two candidates said they would welcome credit union support in their future races. One, an accountant with his own firm in San Francisco, is one of the 135 candidates that has been certified to run in the electoral contest to recall California Governor Grey Davis, and the other is a community development activist running for a seat in the Mississippi state senate. Calvin Louie, a former board member of the $8 million Northeast Community Credit Union, a community development institution based in San Francisco who still chairs its credit committee, said he got involved in the California governor's race to both raise issues and win, and that he brings unique perspectives to the contest. "It is really quite exciting," Louie said, "I have been campaigning in Los Angeles already and I plan to hit all the major California cities." As a CPA, Louie said that he is the candidate running with a solid financial background and experience in making numbers add up. "We have actors, engineers, sports owners, professional politicians running, but I am the only guy with experience about how budgets and accounting work," he said. Louie emphasized as well that he is serious about the election attempt. He pointed out that the entire effort, including the $3,500 filing fee and a $2,500 fee to have his name and a 250-word description entered into the official voters guide, has cost him $6,000 directly so far. He also said he plans to have a Web site up soon at Among Louie's ideas for helping the state out of its budget crisis are asking the state's wealthiest citizens to voluntarily pre-pay their taxes. "I don't think we should necessarily tax them any more," Louie said, "but since they are getting a good windfall from the cuts in their federal taxes, I don't think it's unreasonable to ask them to pre-pay their California taxes." Louie said that the pre-payment of state taxes could bring the state $6 billion and help it bridge the gap to budgetary stability. Louie, who is running as a Democrat, acknowledged that he faces a lot of challenges in his gubernatorial effort, particularly that the two leaders of the pack of candidates have more name recognition and money than he could hope to have. Nonetheless Louie asserted that the nature of this race in particular, that it is part of a recall effort, has drawn sufficient media interest that many candidates should be able to get part of that spotlight. "I plan to keep campaigning and to keep driving forward my ideas," he said, adding that he expected credit union members like all Californians will be drawn to some of his solutions. Californians will go to the polls to decide the gubernatorial contest on October 7. Robert Jackson, treasurer of the $6 million Quitman Tri County Federal Credit Union, based in Marks, Mississippi, is also mounting a campaign of ideas, but added that his campaign is an attempt to bring some of his region's pressing economic needs to the attention of his state's government. The district, which covers three Mississippi counties and part of a fourth, is entirely in Mississippi's Delta region, one of the most chronically impoverished areas in the country. Jackson noted that these needs would continue to be his primary objective as a senator because of the area's chronic poverty, unemployment and sub-standard housing. Jackson, who is CEO of the Quitman County Development Corporation, the community development credit union's sponsor, beat a candidate backed heavily by gambling interests in the nearby town of Tunica and the area's trial lawyers in the Democratic primary. Jackson reported that he won the race by 434 votes, getting 53% of the vote. In a heavily Democratic district, Jackson reported that he doesn't anticipate too much opposition from a Republican or independent competitor in the November 5 general election. He said he hoped that his primary victory might lead more credit unions to back his candidacy, even though he acknowledged he is not running for a federal legislative position. He said he has not received any support from credit unions so far. Jackson faces his voters in the general election on November 5. Quitman Tri-County has been recognized recently for providing low-income residents of the deeply impoverished Mississippi Delta with access to financial services they would not otherwise have. The credit union recently took over the branch facilities of a bank that had abandoned the nearby community of Jonestown and has been named as administrator of a $150,000 housing grant. [email protected]

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