Bob Corker meets with Tennessee REALTORS® during the 2015 Day on the Hill.
1. You Don’t Have To Talk On “The Hill.”
NAR has appointed FPCs or Federal Policy Coordinators. When you go into a chambers somewhere around the Capitol, that person will speak on behalf of the people you are with. If your FPC couldn’t make this trip, usually the state president or a well-connected member will pinch hit in their absence. You don’t have to say a word if you don’t want to.
2. You’re Not Actually Going Into The Capitol Building Necessarily.
When I first saw the schedule, I was overwhelmed. I envisioned myself showing up on the steps of The Capitol Building alone, not knowing anyone. Some CIA guy would open some imagined wooden door and escort me in. Once I was in, I was stuck. I couldn’t leave, and I was on my own. Whew. Nope.
Each state and many local associations have a GAD or Government Affairs Director on staff. This person will help navigate you through the day. Get their email address from your state or local’s website and let them know you want to go.
3. NAR Has Made Hill Visits As Easy As Possible.
Before everyone goes to the Hill, there’s a Federal Issues Briefing on Wednesday at 7 am in the Marriott Wardman Ballroom. NAR’s Chief Lobbyist and a panel of experts will give you everything you need to know. NAR has also prepared a talking points document that you can pull up on your phone or iPad and learn as much as possible.
Here’s the NAR Town Hall Meeting that will help fill you in completely.
4. We Are Here For REALTOR Issues.
So many of the elected DC legislators from my state have little in common with my views. Remind yourself, you are not Opinion McOpinionstuff if you get the opportunity to ask a question or make a comment. Your hot button may be pro-life issues, LGBT issues or religious freedom issues. Take that hat off and tightly fit your REALTOR hat. You may argue and say, “Wait. If someone doesn’t have a quality of life in property ownership because they have XYZ issue, that is a REALTOR issue.” Your point is well-taken, but use a future opportunity to write or call your legislator after this even on your other points that need to be heard.
President-elect Bill Brown with President Tom Salomone at NAR 360.
5. You Can’t Miss NAR 360.
NAR 360 is exactly what it says it is. It will give you a holistic look at everything that is happening at the national level, including consumer campaigns, hot button issues and new member services. It’s on May 10 at 4 pm.
6. Don’t Google “Washington Marriott” And Start Walking.
There are several Marriotts in DC, including The Washington Marriott. The hub of activity is at the Marriott Wardman Park. If you Google anything but that, you’ll likely end up confused and in the wrong place. No one at the front desk will even know what you’re talk about when you ask them where the REALTOR meetings are. Full disclosure: I would never have done this on my first visit to the Legislative Meetings. I’m much too smart for that. **prays for forgiveness for the lie**
7. The Name Tags Aren’t Silly.
I remember seeing this poster board sized name tags on people in green, white, burgundy, blue and black. When you see one of these badges, take the opportunity to ask questions. These are top-level volunteers like committee chairs, past presidents, officers, distinguished service award winners and staff (black badges). Most are thrilled to help connect you. If they’re not in a deep meeting, stop them and ask them your questions. Ask them to tag along to a meeting and show you the ropes.
The Data Strategies Meeting involved not only the committee members, but the entire gallery of attendees in 2015.
8. You Don’t Have To Be On The Committee To Attend A Meeting.
While that statement is mostly true, a few meetings are closed and the schedule will tell you. The vast majority of the meetings are open to everyone. Go in, find a seat in the perimeter area, listen and learn. The seats around tables are reserved for committee members unless you are otherwise instructed by the chair or vice chair. You may have a LOT of opinions to share. If the chair asks for input, she is usually directing the question to the committee and not the gallery. Please wait for questions from the gallery before chiming in. If an opportunity isn’t given, wait until after the meeting, approach the chair (blue badge), vice chair (blue badge), liaison (white badge) or staff member (black badge) and ask your question.
9. Your State And Region Has Events For You To Attend And Connect With Others
NAR has designated regions that each state belongs to. Each region has a caucus that is on the schedule. Many states and regions have receptions, too. Those receptions usually aren’t promoted anywhere. Find someone from your state and ask about it, or call your state association office and ask about it.
10. People Have Packed Schedules And Are Often Focuses On Their Destination
While mostly everyone will smile at you and say hi as they pass in the hallways, many have places they have to be in a short amount of time. Don’t get your feelings hurt when someone you know or just met cuts a conversation short or passes swiftly with little interaction. It’s often like middle school class changes. You have to sprint to the next place to be on time. It’s not personal. It’s DC.