BOSTON – On the eve of the official nomination of Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) as the Democratic presidential candidate, CUNA hosted an Indiana Jones-themed event in honor of Democratic Whips Senator Harry Reid (Nev.) and Congressman Steny Hoyer (Md.). “The event created a lot of goodwill,” CUNA Vice President of Legislative Affairs and Senior Legislative Counsel Gary Kohn said. Officials from the Nevada and California Credit Union Leagues attended the event. Maryland Credit Union League President/CEO Mike Beall and a representative from State Employees Credit Union flew up for the day just for that event. CUNA staff also participated in a salsa event in honor of the Latino Congressional Coalition. Though the number of events had slowed down for credit union representatives by Thursday morning, that was when the protesters came out. At one time, NAFCU Senior Legislative Representative Murray Chanow and Associate Director of Legislative Affairs Dillon Shea were surrounded by several hundred anarchists and about 200 police officers in full riot gear. Despite the detour, NAFCU’s Board had breakfast with House Financial Services Committee Member Brad Miller (D-N.C.), a good friend of NAFCU Board member Larry Wilson, president and CEO of Coastal Federal Credit Union. NAFCU staff then had lunch with well-known political pundit Charlie Cook, who did some handicapping of the tough congressional races. Thursday evening both CUNA and NAFCU had people on the convention floor for the night’s events and Kerry’s acceptance speech. Afterwards everyone attended a party thrown by the Democratic National Committee and a number of labor unions. Chanow said it was very helpful to rub elbows with some of the union leaders who helped out during the H.R. 1151 battle, and could be useful for credit unions again in the future. “To be able to visit with them in an informal atmosphere such as we had in Boston is certainly very helpful in business relations,” NAFCU Senior Vice President and General Counsel Bill Donovan added. Though much of the discussion was informal, some shoptalk did get slipped in. CUNA’s Kohn said he heard from “several high-ranking Senators who feel it’s time to get [bankruptcy reform] done. They aren’t sure if it can be done.” Chanow echoed, “Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) did talk about the fact he want to make one more push on bankruptcy reform this year.” NAFCU Director of Legislative and Political Affairs Brad Thaler said, “We had a number of good conversations with not only members of the House Financial Services Committee, but also the Ways and Means Committee.” He explained that they were not necessarily aware of the credit union versus bank tax battle, but reassured them that nothing would happen this year and, if something does happen, they would come down on the side of credit unions. During an event July 28, Chanow said House Ways and Means Committee Member Robert Matsui (Calif.), the third ranking Democrat on the committee, told NAFCU he did not see any reason to tax credit unions. Though, CUNA’s Kohn admitted that dashing to all the events during the convention was wearing on him, “the adrenaline keeps you going.” It has been well worth it, he added. “It sends a very powerful message. It says how serious they are about the issues,” Kohn said, and will “elevate credit unions in the eyes of Congress.” -firstname.lastname@example.org
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