SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y.-Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura captivated attendees of the New York State Credit Union League’s 84th Annual Meeting and Convention in Saratoga Springs on the last day of the four-day event, June 18. Calling himself the “New Captain Jack Sparrow” after Johnny Depp’s character in Pirates of the Caribbean, Gov. Ventura started growing the beard in December while teaching a semester at Harvard. (He still likes having a beard but wanted to keep it cooler for the summer months.) As the first Reform Candidate to win statewide office-and spending less than $400,000 to do so-Gov. Ventura addressed the “One Voice” segment of the NYSCUL’s “One Mission, One Voice” convention theme. Advocating the importance of grassroots efforts to bring about change, Gov. Ventura discussed his entry into politics, which started with an attempt to preserve wetlands in his neighborhood of Brooklyn Park, Minn., and resulted in his running for and becoming mayor. After a brief return to the private sector, Ventura then became Minnesota’s 38th governor in 1998. He said that he will decide in the next year-and-a-half whether to make a run for the 2008 presidential election. Gov. Ventura expressed his intense dislike for the two-party system and characterized third-party candidates as being able to “accomplish things with ideas rather than money.” He also likened credit unions to a third party in politics and banker attacks to efforts by Democrats and Republicans to keep a third party out of the election process. “Banks want to destroy you because they want to eliminate the choice,” Ventura said. “It’s the same thing with politics.” Credit Union Times will provide in-depth coverage of the NYSCUL’s annual meeting in the July 7 issue. -kmrospond@verizon.net