NCBA CLUSA kicked off its 100th Anniversary at the National Press Club yesterday with the formal launch of the newly-formed bipartisan Congressional Cooperative Business Caucus and testimonies from a broad spectrum of co-op advocates ranging from top co-op executives to an Organic Valley farmer leading the “Generation Organic” revolution among new family farmers in the U.S.
Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), caucus co-chair and founder, introduced the caucus and pledged its commitment to representing public and private sectors working to advance the cooperative business model.
Royce is a leading Congressional advocate for credit unions, mutual insurers and rural electric co-ops through legislation including the Credit Union Small Business Jobs Creation Act and the Electrify Africa Act.
“As a longtime advocate of cooperative business—from California’s credit unions and mutual insurers to Africa’s rural electric co-ops—I look forward to highlighting the benefits these organizations provide to their customers and their communities,” Royce said. “Cooperatives not only provide valuable goods and services around the world, but also offer their members a piece of their success,” he added.
Caucus co-chair Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) joined Royce at the press conference, pointing out that co-ops are integral to the U.S. economy because they create jobs that pay fair wages and offer member-owners a chance to directly shape business decisions.
“I’m proud that my district is home to thriving cooperatives—from the Willy Street Co-op to the University of Wisconsin Credit Union,” Pocan said. Home to 80 cooperatives, Wisconsin’s Dane County has the highest number of co-ops per capita of any county in the nation.
“I look forward to working with Rep. Royce to promote greater awareness of the cooperative business model and to advocate on federal policy issues unique to the co-op community,” Pocan said, adding that the caucus will help Congress understand the “diversity and benefits” of cooperatives.
NCBA CLUSA has worked diligently on behalf of its member co-ops and supporters across the country to secure this caucus as a long-awaited federal outlet to raise awareness of the cooperative business model.
“We are thrilled by the formation of this historic caucus dedicated to advancing the role of cooperatives in the nation’s economy at the federal level,” said Judy Ziewacz, interim CEO and president of the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA) CLUSA.
Cooperatives exist worldwide and inject $3 trillion into the U.S. economy every year. They create millions of jobs, can be found in virtually every sector of the U.S. economy, providing solutions to meet challenging public policy needs, from affordable housing to quality sourced food and greater access to electricity, banking and credit needs.
To learn more about the Congressional Cooperative Business Caucus and ask your representative to join, click here.