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DENVER – Reflecting a new-found reliance by CUNA and state leagues to recruit management talent with broad political experience, the Colorado Credit Union System Board has picked a well-connected Colorado lobbyist and former Washington, D.C. lawyer as its new president/CEO. He is 52-year-old John C. Dill, a top advisor to former Democratic Gov. Roy Romer and a former senior legislative aide in Washington for ex-Oklahoma Congressman James R. Jones, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee. Dill, who for the last five years has run his own Denver consulting firm handling a blue-chip list of corporate clients ranging from Kerr-McGee Corp, the oil conglomerate giant, to J. P. Morgan Co.’s investment banking, formerly was senior vice president of government affairs for the D.C.-based National Retail Federation. Citing a career “that has spanned both the public and private sector,” Dill said his experience over the years in dealing with tough public policy and regulatory issues and then guiding impacted industries should prove helpful in serving and lobbying for CUs both in Washington and in Denver. Dill, who is a member of three CUs, two in Colorado and one in Washington, told Credit Union Times he has long appreciated some of the problems CUs face in dealing with a newly-aggressive banking lobby bent on “making us go away.” “I understand this industry faces a huge challenge,” said Dill maintaining CUs have a ready arsenal of economic and community-service weapons to show Congress and the public that “credit unions must be protected so they can prosper and grow.” “Banks fill a niche and so do credit unions and there is room for both,” said Dill. Dill, who is closing down his consulting business, said he will start with the Colorado League which also manages the Wyoming League “the middle of March.” He will fill a vacancy left by last September’s firing of James D. Holt, a former Kansas Credit Union League lobbyist and a Wichita lawyer. Dill declined to comment on the reasons behind the Holt sacking which sources said related to apparent missteps in Holt’s relationship with Colorado lawmakers. Dill, however, stressed that he brings to the Colorado/Wyoming Leagues experience and skill in navigating and negotiating with congressional, state and regulatory bodies in “bringing needed benefits” for industries he has served. Apart from learning how to be “an effective public spokesman” for his clients, “I’ve also seen how public policy both benefits and injures industries and I’m prepared to guide credit unions to succeed in any number of areas.” Dill, in particular, recalled his work for the National Retail Federation from 1993-95, where he lobbied in Congress against the well-intentioned Clinton Administration’s health proposals but which would have had a harmful effect on middle income and low-wage workers. Raised in Oklahoma City and holding his J.D. from the University of Oklahoma and a B.A. in political science from Oklahoma State University, his career includes three years as a member of Gov. Romer’s cabinet. He served as Colorado Director of Economic Development from 1995-98 and guided a major consolidation of various state agencies to successfully induce more outside economic investment in the state. Previously, the state’s international trade office, business job training and tech development were in disparate sites, but Dill is credited with streamlining the economic units. His background in Washington, D.C. includes 10 years as a senior congressional aide working as legislative director for Congressman Jones, a Democrat. He also served as a top staffer on the House Budget Committee at a time when the panel was the focus of national attention regarding federal taxation and spending policies. After leaving congressional service, Dill was a partner in the Washington law firm of Dickstein, Shapiro and Morin also working for top Fortune 500 firms. Apart from J.P. Morgan and Kerr-McGee, other clients of Dill’s own firm, John C. Dill LLC, have included Lexis Nexis, a Washington data processor, and Qwest, the Denver-based local and long distance phone carrier. Last year Dill was credited with running a campaign to successfully lobby the Colorado legislature to handily defeat a proposal for casino gambling at dog tracks. Paul Mercer, chairman of the American Association of Credit Union Leagues and president of the Ohio Credit Union League, acknowledged that Dill’s appointment in Colorado does follow a recent pattern of state Leagues picking political operatives, but such decisions are made “on an individual basis depending on the needs of each state,” adding “there is no cookie cutter or custom approach.” Nonetheless, the two other appointments which fit the pattern include Utah where Scott Simpson, former head of the Utah Republican Party, is the new CEO, and Maryland, which last month selected Michael Beall, also a lawyer and former manager of governmental affairs for the World Council of Credit Unions. Citing his CU ties, Dill said he is a member of Colorado State Employees CU of Denver, and Wright Patman Congressional CU and Senate Federal CU both of D.C. Dill said he had no knowledge of who the other contenders were for the Colorado League job, but it was learned he was one of two finalists with the other being Scott G. Earl, the former president/CEO of the Utah League, who resigned that League Nov. 30. -

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