Michigan REALTORS(R) Successfully Lobby on Capitol Hill

This was my second year of Hill visits at the Midyear Meetings, and what a day I had! We started off in the morning with 14th District Representative Gary Peters, who has always shown strong support for housing issues and REALTOR® initiatives. At least 15 of us were on hand, with discussions lead by our Federal Political Coordinator, Sara Lipnitz. We asked Peters to protect the mortgage interest rate deduction, which is in its 100th year this year and is used by 75% of US homeowners.

Michigan REALTORS® meeting with Senator Debbie Stabenow

In the afternoon I was extremely fortunate to be included in meetings with Senator Carl Levin and Senator Debbie Stabenow.

Nanci J. Rands, Levin’s FPC guided Levin through real estate issues like the GSEs and further emphasizing the importance of the interest rate deduction. Levin is currently concentrating on sequestration and ways to get America’s largest companies to pay their fair share of taxes to cover current deficits. Pat V. Combs, former NAR President, and Bill Milliken, current Michigan Association of REALTORS® President, helped to focus Levin on the important role that Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA play in our economic recovery.

We made our way through the underground tunnels over to the offices of Senator Debbie Stabenow, who candidly felt that that the mortgage interest rate deduction should be safe, but there are certainly proposals that are being discussed to put in place caps or reduce the deduction for second homes. Stabenow and the other Michigan legislators understand that in Michigan the average second home owner has an annual income of 97K, so this is a deduction that is protecting the financial investments of our middle class. Furhad Waquad, Stabenow’s FPC guided discussion on protecting the 30 year mortgage, which provides stability to the US housing market.

I felt so honored to be included in the meetings with our senators and tremendous pride in the REALTOR® Party for the influence we hold in the nation’s Capitol, and the role we chose to play in protecting homeownership. The REALTOR® Party truly is an energized movement of real estate professionals fighting to keep the dream of homeownership alive for this country!


Twenty years ago, Maureen Francis left the United States to work as a business advisor in the first group of US Peace Corps volunteers to serve in the former Soviet Union. After nearly a decade in advertising and management consulting in Ukraine, Maureen found a new calling: residential real estate sales, in her hometown, Birmingham, Michigan. Maureen and her husband have helped home buyers and sellers share their love for all that Metro Detroit offers since 2001. They are both Associate Brokers and top producing agents with SKBK Sotheby’s International Realty. Maureen proudly serves as 2014 President of the Greater Metropolitan Association of REALTORS.

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