The Piedmont Chapter saluted five legislators at the chapter’s annual legislative chapter meeting, and gave a special nod to the state lawmaker who is retiring at the end of this year.
Those attending the special chapter meeting were: State Sen. Frank Ruff, whose district includes part of the city of Danville, as well as Dels. Charles Poindexter, Danny Marshall and Don Merricks. Congressman Robert Hurt was represented by his district staff member Linda Green.
Del. Merricks sits on the House Commerce and Labor Committee, and announced this spring he will not run for re-election so that he may focus more on his business. League Governmental Affairs Committee member Andrew Reynolds, of Martinsville DuPont Credit Union, read the delegate a resolution offered by the chapter:
WHEREAS, Delegate Donald W. Merricks earned recognition for his three terms of public service in the 16th District of the Commonwealth of Virginia by listening to the needs of his 15,930 Credit Union constituents and willingness to work with Virginia Credit Union League Legislative Representatives as a recovering banker.
WHEREAS, as a Committee Member of Commerce and Labor, Delegate Donald W. Merricks supported legislation beneficial to the 1.6 million credit union consumers throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.
RESOLVED, That Piedmont Chapter of Virginia Credit Unions honors Delegate Donald W. Merricks upon the occasion of his retirement.
Merricks said, “I never dreamed a poor boy like me would grow up to be a legislator.”
He thanked his constituents for allowing him the opportunity to serve, but said that he noticed that “My business works better when I’m there.”
He remembered the first time he experienced a Credit Union Day at the General Assembly, walking into a conference room and seeing a sea of red scarves. “The first time it was pretty intimidating,” he said. “But you’ve always been gracious and it’s always great to see friends from home.”
Economic development was a key theme for the lawmakers, with three of them having just attended a meeting of the Tobacco Commission earlier that day to decide on how to spend money on business projects.
Sen. Ruff said the key to job creation is developing a workforce. Del. Marshall, who also is a member of Commerce and Labor, said the General Assembly cannot pass a bill to create jobs, but it can create a positive environment that results in more jobs. He cited the example of the General Assembly approving more funding for the local community college to expand its machinist class, a key move since a major employer located in Danville because of the machinist program.
Green, speaking on behalf of Congressman Hurt, also noted the need to rein in regulations where appropriate, since some of them result in dampening economic development efforts. Hurt, who sits on the House Financial Services Committee, is co-sponsoring two bills of interest to credit unions. One would eliminate the annual privacy notice mailing, the other would provide for more fairness in regulatory examinations.
Del. Poindexter, who serves on the House Appropriations Committee, gave his take on the state’s finances. He says that state revenue is at about the 2007 level, while the state faces myriad needs, including regional needs such as the completion of Route 58 to spur economic development in the Piedmont-Southwest Virginia areas. He says to expect the 2014 budget to address needs such as mental health and higher education. He urged CU members to stay in touch with lawmakers. “We like to hear from you,” Poindexter said.