CA/NV CU Leagues Honor CU Leaders, CUs for Advocacy Efforts

Several credit union industry leaders and credit unions were honored at this year’s California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues’ REACH Conference for their advocacy efforts.

The following 2016 Advocacy Award recipients were recognized by the Leagues’ Government Affairs team during the conference, held Nov. 2-4 at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. They were honored for their efforts to make sure credit unions achieved victories in Sacramento, Carson City, and Washington, D.C.:
Advocate of the Year Award (California)—Brett Martinez (Redwood Credit Union, Santa Rosa, CA); Advocate of the Year Award (Nevada)—Christie Jordan (Clark County Credit Union, Las Vegas, NV); Credit Union Advocate of the Year Award (California)—Star One Credit Union, Sunnyvale, CA; Credit Union Advocate of the Year” award (Nevada)—Boulder Dam CU, Boulder City, NV; Supplier of the Year Award—Montrose Travel, Montrose, CA; Political Professional of the Year Award—The “Travis Trio”: Fred Zaragoza, Eric Maldonado, and Sherry Cordonnier (Travis Credit Union, Vacaville, CA); Outstanding Achievement in Advocacy Award—Ron McDaniel (California Credit Union, Glendale, CA)

Brett Martinez, CEO of Redwood Credit Union (California): One of the biggest achievements of the year on the legislative front in California was the passage of the credit union State Charter Modernization bill. It was an important effort as the state charter hadn’t been updated in more than a decade, said Andrea Svoboda, Leagues’ manager of political advocacy, in presenting the award to Martinez. He was at the forefront of this effort from the beginning. As chairman of the State Charter Review Committee, he worked with his peers to identify issues and tailor those into a single piece of legislation. He also supported the Leagues’ state lobbyists by providing insight and guidance throughout the entire process.

Christie Jordan, Clark County Credit Union (Nevada): Nevada’s main focus this year has been politics, both fundraising and meeting the countless candidates running for office. Jordan has been a constant supporter throughout the process. An instrumental member of the Nevada Political Action committee, she has sat down with candidates and educated them on the credit union difference. And she reached out to other credit unions making PAC fundraising calls. Understanding the importance of ensuring credit union friendly candidates are elected to office, she often can be found donating her own time and money to the cause.

Star One Credit Union and CEO, Rick Heldebrant (California): In heavy election cycles, fundraisers are an important part of the political process. Heldebrant generously volunteered the time and his credit union’s space to host an important event this year. Project Zip Code is an online tool which groups a credit union’s membership by zip code into federal and state districts. This helps elected officials to see the footprint of credit unions in their districts. Heldebrant not only makes sure his credit union’s numbers are up to date, but continually advocates to his peers to participate in this program.

Boulder Dam Credit Union and CEO Eric Estes (Nevada): In Nevada, where the legislature meets every other year, the off-session years become focused on politics and fundraising. Boulder Dam CU not only gives to PAC every year, CEO Eric Estes generously loans out his staff to help ensure the Nevada Credit Union League has a strong political presence. Sue Longson, chairman of the Nevada Political Action Committee, is the eyes and ears for political races in Nevada. In addition, Estes’ staff also helps host a nighttime golf event with the Leagues’ Southern Nevada Chapter, which this year raised $6,300.

Many credit union suppliers throughout both states step up over and over again throughout the year to help fill the Leagues’ PAC coffers—which, in turn, helps the Leagues’ build strong PACs in California and Nevada. This year’s recipient, Montrose Travel and Darlene Magno, are always ready to support the Leagues’ advocacy efforts whenever the call goes out. Magno has been an instrumental part of the annual Multi-Chapter PAC Golf Tournament which takes place in Valencia, CA. She volunteers her time to take part in conference calls, always donates coveted travel-themed prizes, and does whatever she can to be a great partner.

This year has been busy organizing many district meetings at home with elected officials throughout California and Nevada. These local meetings are a crucial relationship building tool. This year’s recipients are fondly called the “Travis Trio.” Sherry Cordonnier, Fred Zaragoza and Eric Maldonado of Travis Credit Union have proven to be leaders in their community when it comes to relationship-building. They have used their relationships to help further the credit union movement, including writing letters in opposition to a state bill that would have expanded the rights of successors in interest. They have been instrumental in ensuring a strong credit union voice in their region.

This special award was presented to Ron McDaniel, CEO of California Credit Union, someone who has been a cornerstone for the League’s advocacy efforts for decades. He has given up thousands of hours of his time to attend every lobbying visit, both in Washington, D.C. and Sacramento, and has played host to countless state and federal candidate fundraisers at his credit union, according to Svoboda in presenting the award to McDaniel.

He has developed strong personal relationships with his elected officials, something that is invaluable when an urgent phone call is needed to be made regarding pressing legislation. McDaniel is also a leader amongst his peers, having served as chairman of the Leagues’ Government Relations Committee and member of CUNA’s Government Relations Committee for many years. In this capacity he helped shape the policy agenda for credit unions in Sacramento and Washington D.C. He has also volunteered his time to serve on the California Department of Business Oversight’s advisory committee. And he encourages his staff to get involved in the process.

Tina Ramos-Ingold, Media Relations Specialist
California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues

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