February 2, 2012
Credit union champion Suzanne Bonamici will be the newest member of the House of Representatives after defeating Republican businessman Rob Cornilles by 14 percentage points in Tuesday night’s special election. The two were vying to represent Oregon’s 1st Congressional District, a seat vacated by the resignation of Rep. David Wu, D-Ore.
The Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) announced its support of Bonamici in October, and Bonamici trumpeted increasing the credit union member business lending (MBL) cap throughout her campaign as one of the key components in kick-starting the economy and aiding small businesses.
"I am thrilled to have won the honor of representing the First Congressional District, and I could not have done it without your support,” Bonamici said of her credit union backers. “Now that the campaign is over, I will begin work on one of my top priorities: raising the credit union member business lending cap. I look forward to our collaboration on this issue and on other legislation that will benefit our local businesses and economy. Thank you for your support."
Credit unions were tightly woven into the campaign from the start, and Bonamici’s support of increasing the MBL cap was front and center.
In discussing Bonamici’s emphasis on job creation, an article in the Portland Business Journal said, “That [jobs] platform consists mainly of increasing business lending—she’s already working with credit union officials to craft measures that would allow the nonprofit lenders to add more loan programs—and backing infrastructure bills.”
And the victory is being celebrated and shared by the credit union movement nationally. Seeing this as an opportunity to show the tangible benefits of effective political advocacy, CUNA has already created a document touting Bonamici as a credit union champion and praising the efforts of Northwest credit unions in her campaign. In an email sent by CUNA Vice President of Member Development Jeff Carpenter to league communicators around the country, CUNA described the victory as reinforcing “the importance of the AACUL-CUNA 535 seat strategy,” and promised “more content in the coming weeks.”
“We owe a huge debt of gratitude to all the credit union advocates who helped us educate Suzanne Bonamici on federal credit union issues, participated in the interview process and gave their time to support her campaign,” NWCUA Director of Legislative Advocacy Jennifer Wagner said. “Congresswoman-elect Bonamici reached out to Association staff yesterday as well, thanking credit unions for our support and again expressing her desire to get to work for us in D.C.”
Bonamici will be sworn in next Tuesday in Washington, D.C., and is already working to schedule town hall dates with constituents in the 1st District.
Questions? Contact a member of the Association’s Legislative Affairs team: