2024 Advocacy Season Kicks off in Arizona
Posted by Katy Wagnon on January 22, 2024
Tuesday, January 16 marked the official start of “advocacy season” at GoWest Credit Union Association. More than 125 advocates from credit unions across Arizona converged on the capitol Tuesday for the annual “Arizona Credit Union Day at the Capitol,” demonstrating to legislators how credit unions’ cooperative structure helps them deliver tangible financial benefits to Arizonans and drives positive impact on communities.
The group spent the afternoon in 32 meetings with policymakers on both sides of the aisle to discuss credit union priorities and the impact they have on the state’s economy. With more than 2.2 million credit union members in the state, lawmakers were definitely listening. Advocates asked them to support legislation that will soon be introduced by Senator J.D. Mesnard (R-13) that will improve the state’s credit union charter.
“In all of our conversations, legislators understood that credit unions are THE community lenders, the financial service providers underwriting the loans that support communities,” said Austin DeBey, VP of Legislative Affairs for Arizona.
“Advancing policies that best serve credit union members is made possible because of the commitment advocates make to engage in the process, to build relationships with legislators, and to share the stories of the services they are providing to those policymakers’ constituents,” said Troy Stang, president and CEO of GoWest Credit Union Association. “These remarkable advocates stepped up in style today, as always.”
Brian Lee, President and CEO of Landings Credit Union, was honored as the 2023 Arizona Advocate of the Year. Lee’s never-ceasing work to advocate for the credit union charter was one of many accomplishments that led to the honor. Additionally, in the past year, Lee served as co-chair of the inaugural GoWest Arizona Governmental Affairs Committee, hosted candidates at his credit union, attended key events for policymakers such as Governor Katie Hobbs and U.S. Senator Krysten Sinema, and actively participated in signature advocacy events at the state and federal levels.
Credit Union West and Vantage West CU were presented with “Top of the Hill” honors for their commitments to advancing advocacy priorities both at the hyper-local state level and in the Beltway.
Kimberly Yee, Arizona’s State Treasurer and longtime credit union friend presented to the group. Yee highlighted the work of the Treasurer’s office on behalf of Arizonans and talked about the importance of financial literacy and how credit unions can participate in the pooled collateral program for public deposits. She has been a champion of financial education, including putting together the Financial Literacy Task Force and leading efforts to establish the AZ529 Education Savings Plan.
“I really appreciate Treasurer Yee’s focus, not just on K-12 education, but thinking beyond that,” said Austin DeBey, VP, Advocacy Operations & Legislative Affairs for Arizona. “We fully support the holistic approach to financial literacy that the Treasurer’s office and Treasurer Yee have championed since day one.”
The Arizona Day at the Capitol was the first of the six, hyper-local advocacy events in the GoWest region. Additional Day at the Capitol events are scheduled as follows: