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CULAC Founder Duerr Remembered as Leader, Innovator
Tuesday, December 13, 2016 6:45 AM

Longtime credit union champion Douglas “Doug” Duerr died Nov. 12 at the age of 73. Duerr served as CUNA’s vice president of political affairs for 10 years, starting in 1978, and as the CEO of the National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors (NASCUS) from 1993 to 2003.

Duerr is remembered as creating the Credit Union Legislative Action Council (CULAC), the political action committee of CUNA. CULAC raised a record $4.8 million in the 2015-16 election cycle.

Dick Ensweiler, now president/CEO of the Cornerstone Credit Union League, served as an early CULAC treasurer, and remembers Duerr as the type of leader and innovator who helped build the credit union movement.

“Doug had the vision to create CULAC... he kept persuading us that this distasteful notion of giving money to support politicians was crucial and that it would eventually become appreciated in the credit union community,” Ensweiler said. “He understood that leagues had to take the lead and engage credit unions locally, and pushed us incessantly. It was the right thing to do and we appreciated his persistence.”

Ensweiler also remembered Duerr as being “gracious while leading and encouraging us to understand that being political—not partisan—was important to our long-term success.”

McKechnie, senior partner at Total Spectrum and former CUNA senior vice president of government affairs, also remembers Duerr as an innovator.

“Doug was a builder, and someone who saw the tremendous political potential of the credit union movement. His work on the campaign to preserve our tax exemption in 1986 was exemplary, and he also did a tremendous job with NASCUS after leaving CUNA,” he said. “Doug hired me off the Hill in 1987; he was a friend and mentor, and I will miss his wisdom and good cheer."

Duerr also served as director of government affairs and vice president of corporate affairs for the Indiana Credit Union League, and was the founding CEO of Indy Corp CU.