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ANAHEIM, Calif. – Former Senator John Edwards, featured grand assembly speaker at the California and Nevada Credit Union League CU Leadership Summit, commended credit unions for providing services to underserved groups. Edwards, who currently directs the University of North Carolina Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity, said services credit unions provide as an alternative to payday lenders are key in fighting the war on poverty. “Without you providing the services you provide, families working in poverty have no choice but to get caught up in cycle of payday lending, which you all know so well,” Edwards said, adding, “and we need to do more of that as a nation, we shouldn’t be dependent upon you to do it all.” The former Vice Presidential candidate also drew applause from the audience when he discussed his position on credit union taxation. “I have a long history of support of credit unions, and that includes, by the way, your tax status, because the work you do is so important to so many people across the country who need access to financial services,” Edwards said. The high-profile Democrat also politicized, as if he were still on the campaign trail, chastising the Bush Administration and Republican-controlled Congress for increasing America’s dependence upon foreign oil, failing to draft a trade policy that protects American workers, cutting funding in education and technology research, and for lacking basic fiscal responsibility. Edwards gave equal critique time to his own Democratic party, saying it is important that the left wing return to a message of core beliefs, rather than focusing on individual issues. “It’s time for us to re-energize the Democratic party by standing up with backbone and courage, and showing it’s not the Republican party that owns moral issues in America,” he said. Edwards said he believes that Americans are hungry for a moral issue to rally around, and if the party of the working class is to be successful, it must act now before the window of opportunity closes. -

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