President's Message

Let’s go hiking


For many, “Hiking the Hill” is a time-honored annual tradition. These are the days where trade associations and their members visit with legislative and regulatory officials across Washington DC to promote and advocate for their respective industries. Here, the trade association acts as a representative body and communicates the collective position of its members. When it comes to advocacy, the trade association works to protect beneficial laws, defend against damaging legislation and, for regulated industries such as financial services, help pave the way to a more efficient and safer business climate. Whether in government or in the media, however, a trade association speaks as the voice and sits at the heart of its industry.

You and your credit unions are the reasons why your league consistently delivers top quality advocacy results. Without your help, in this year’s legislative session here in Connecticut, we could not have achieved:

...just to name some of our successes.

It is your involvement in grassroots advocacy that leverages your experience operating in a challenging business climate, your member success stories, and our unique cooperative business model to fuel advocacy success. As always, we stand ready, willing, and able to engage with lawmakers and regulators on your behalf. But we accomplish more when we stand together in our representatives’ offices, or when we visit with them in our credit unions. These visits entrench relationships and cement the Credit Union Advantage in the minds of policymakers.

Back to DC—if the elected and appointed officials’ schedules do not perfectly align, these events can quickly turn into long days with blistered feet, grumbling stomachs, seemingly chaotic logistics and grueling crisscrossing between the House and Senate (giving rise to the “hike” metaphor). And while Hike days are premiere advocacy events that remain one of the most important visual representations of credit union grassroots advocacy, they also represent the culmination of months and years of sustained, diligent effort to achieve success in our legislative and regulatory agendas. For the trade association, in some important ways, these hikes are a visual representation of the fruits of our work on your behalf.

In other ways, the hike is where the members bring their business to life in the minds of the policymaker. The most impactful credit union advocacy moments are the real-life examples of how you and your credit union improve communities and the lives of people (their constituents) every day. Yes, we need your help to use those stories for maximum advocacy benefit. But we look at the hill visits also as an opportunity to celebrate your successes and communicate your challenges.

Join us September 18-21 in Washington, D.C. With the first visit scheduled for late morning on the 19th, you can arrive that day if you choose. The visits on the 20th will conclude with an evening event for Rep. Jim Himes at a Navy Yard restaurant. There’s no registration fee to attend this year’s Hike, and we have secured a limited number of rooms at the Courtyard Mariott.

Partisan politics are a way of life in Washington and we may not always agree with our Representatives. But personal political alignment should not discourage anyone from attending a Hill Visit. These hikes provide a forum for credit union leaders to build knowledge of policy and politics, enhance public speaking skills, and even grow relationships with their elected leaders from their Districts. You save lives every day. You support financial well-being every day. You strengthen communities every day. Your delegation needs to know about it. Join us!