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State GAC builds momentum for public deposits

Almost 40 credit union officials attended the Florida State GAC in Tallahassee, which was held at the Governors Club. The group was treated to a lineup of speakers that could have headlined the event by themselves. The first day of the State GAC was highlighted by CFO Jeff Atwater telling credit unions that he supported them being able to accept public deposits. This brought clapping from the group. During the question and answer period, Atwater reiterated that he thought credit unions were safe and sound and any financial institution that was safe and sound with deposit insurance should be able to accept public deposits.

The two-day conference builds to a lawmaker reception on day one and legislative visits on day two. During the lawmaker reception, Rep. Kevin Rader (D-Delray Beach), who has been strongly against the credit union public deposits bill, spent time with Mack MacVicar, a director with City County CU of Fort Lauderdale. By the end of their visit, Rep. Rader told LSCU staff he may be coming around to the public deposits issues. This is a great example of how credit unions can make a difference during advocacy events. About 27 legislators attended the lawmaker reception on Tuesday evening with many building new relationships.

The visits to the lawmakers offices was just as positive. Many of the legislators told credit unions that they support the public deposits issues and what credit unions are doing for their members. Sen. Rene Garcia (R-Hialeah), the sponsor of public deposits in the Senate, told his group of credit unions that supports credit unions for the long run. Credit unions in South Florida are encouraged to let the senator know they appreciate his support.

Darrick McGhee, legislative director for the Office of the Governor, laid out the governor's agenda for attendees. He also said the state will have a surplus this year. McGhee was questioned on how the impending Affordable Care Act will affect the state. He said the governor has given the legislation to the legislature to figure out what is best for the state. Marian Johnson, SVP of Political Strategy for the Florida Chamber of Commerce, gave an entertaining presentation on PAC fundraising and grassroots advocacy. She told attendees that grassroots advocacy is a 52-week a year job. It needs to be ongoing at all times. Ryan Donovan, CUNA SVP of Legislative Affairs, brought credit unions up to speed on federal issues, while also showing the behind the scenes efforts of CUNA to get credit union legislation in front of legislators. He said the 112th Congress passed fewer bills than the do nothing Congress of the 1940s.

The regulatory roundtable featured Bruce Ricca and Robert Hayes from the Florida Office of Financial Regulation and Robert Parrish from the NCUA. Credit unions and chapters were presented PAC fundraising awards, while Rep. Jason Brodeur (R-Sanford) was presented with the LSCU Lawmaker of the Year award. Rep. Brodeur sponsored public deposits legislation last year in the House and was the first representative to co-sponsor public deposits legislation in 2013. 

Sen. Rene Garcia with LSCU
President/CEO Patrick La Pine,
Jim Wagy, CEO of United Police
FCU and Mack MacVicar, director
with City County CU.

Rep. Kevin Rader listens to Mack
MacVicar during the lawmaker

Darrick McGhee talks to attendees
about the state legislative agenda.

Sen. Audrey Gibson speaks with
a group of Jacksonville credit

LSCU VP of Governmental
Affairs Jared Ross and LSCU
President/CEO Patrick La Pine
present Rep. Jason Brodeur with
the LSCU Lawmaker of the Year

Tampa area credit unions, along
with LSCU staff meet with House
Speaker Will Weatherford.