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WASHINGTON-CUNA’s new top two lobbyists have a combined 55 years of experience working on Capitol Hill. After seeing their top two lobbyists, John McKechnie and Gary Kohn, leave the association virtually simultaneously for jobs at NCUA, CUNA’s new recruits will have to hit the ground running. John P. Magill will replace McKechnie as senior vice president of governmental affairs and Dean Sagar will serve as vice president of legislative affairs, which Kohn vacated. Magill, who currently serves as chief of staff to senior House Ways & Means Committee Member Wally Herger (R-Calif.), will join CUNA’s staff May 1. He has worked on Capitol Hill for nearly 30 years with the last 19 of those for Herger, who is also the chairman of the tax-writing committee’s human resources subcommittee. The Ways & Means Committee has always held particular significance for credit unions given its jurisdiction, but credit union attention has been even more acutely focused since the Nov. 3 hearing on the credit union tax-exemption. Despite Chairman Bill Thomas’ (R-Calif.) announced retirement, other members of Congress were curious to see hard numbers on credit union service to those of modest means. “John’s long-time experience on the Hill has resulted in countless close associations with current and former members of Congress, on both sides of the Hill, and their staff members,” CUNA President and CEO Dan Mica said. “His understanding of the legislative process, how Congress works, and the interplay between issues, political reality and public policy, is unsurpassed. Credit unions can look forward to benefiting from his experience and wisdom.” Prior to working for Herger, Magill served as an administrative assistant to retired Congressman G. William Whitehurst (R-Va.) and as senior staff assistant/counsel to the late Congressman J. Kenneth Robinson (R-Va.). As CUNA’s lead Republican lobbyist, his networking through his vice presidency of the board of directors of the Capitol Hill Club, established for members of the Republican Party; past presidency of the association of current and former congressional chiefs of staff; and as former treasurer and president of the Hill Investment Club, a Republican social organization, should prove crucial. Magill is married to Susan Aheron Magill, retired chief of staff to Senator John Warner (R-Va.) and current senior executive in government affairs for the Pew Charitable Trusts. He is a cum laude graduate of the University of Tennessee and holds a JD from Tennessee. Dean Sagar has spent 25 years as a Hill staffer in addition to 10 years of lobbying. He currently serves as the top financial services policy staff member for House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and will join CUNA’s lobbying staff as of April 3. He attempted to make his way into credit unions once before as former NCUA Board Member Debbie Matz’ executive assistant, but the White House scuttled that appointment. Sagar has extensive experience in financial services issues and participated in the development and drafting of the Credit Union Membership Access Act of 1998 when he served as a senior legislative analyst for the House Banking Committee (now the Financial Services Committee). He has worked on banking and consumer protection issues, monitoring the impact of legislation on credit unions, thrifts and secondary market activities and developing legislation on financial and medical privacy as well as deposit insurance reform. Sagar also previously served as senior economist with the House Committee on Small Business. He has also lobbied for the American Association of Franchisees and Dealers and the American Association of Homes for the Aging. The former Army medic holds an undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, from the University of Redlands in Redlands, Calif., has participated in masters’ studies at the prestigious School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of Johns Hopkins University in Washington, D.C., and at the George Washington University in Washington. “Dean’s background and understanding of federal credit union legislation is unmatched by any other national credit union trade lobbyist today,” CUNA’s Mica commented. “We are indeed fortunate to land an individual with such a deep and broad experience as Dean possesses. Now, he can use that know-how expressly for advancing credit union interests.” -

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