FPC Max Mitchell presents Rep. Rodney Davis with a REALTOR t-shirt in the Congressman's D.C. office.

Wish You Were Here: Hill Visit 101

FPC Max Mitchell presents Rep. Rodney Davis with a REALTOR t-shirt in the Congressman's D.C. office.

FPC Max Mitchell presents Rep. Rodney Davis with a REALTOR t-shirt in the Congressman’s D.C. office.

The most amazing aspect of the annual REALTORS Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo is the staggering level of access to members of Congress.  We live in a country where you don’t have to be a political insider to have access to lawmakers.  Any REALTOR who shows up during REALTOR Legislative Meetings can get face time with one or more members of Congress.  While any constituents visiting D.C. could jump through some hoops to get access to their members of Congress, the collective influence of your state and national REALTOR Associations makes it unbelievably easy to show up and walk right into one or more meetings with law makers.

The experience is very positive for visitors, and the members of Congress genuinely appreciate the visits.  If you’ve never made a Hill visit and are on the fence about whether it’s worth showing up next year, consider that you don’t have to be a policy expert, or even be able to form complete sentences to participate.  Seriously.  You just jump into a group led by a volunteer Federal Political Coordinator who already knows the member of Congress and the issues.  That takes all the pressure off.  Just show up and observe if you want, but you’re likely to be pleasantly surprised to find yourself in a genuine conversation with a member or (sometimes better yet) a policy expert staff member.

This is my sixth year of participating in REALTOR Legislative Meetings.  Six years ago, I was that shy newbie who figured I’d end up lost in a tunnel beneath the Capitol complex and never make it back out.  I am not an FPC, but because I show up, the Congressman whose district includes most of my local market area knows me by name.  I visited with him yesterday in his office with a large group.  Coincidentally, I found myself out at dinner a few hours later, sitting a few tables away from the same Congressman.  He greeted me by first name (and no, I was not wearing my badge!).  And this started by just being a REALTOR who showed up.

I post here not to give readers a license to follow the action here in D.C. from their couches back home; rather, I post here in the hopes that you will join me for the excitement next year.  Browse my photos below as a series of “Wish you were here” postcards.  And then BE HERE with me next year.  It’s easy, enjoyable, and you CAN make a difference in protecting our industry and private property rights in Congress.  Yes, YOU!

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (IL-16) poses with a delegation of REALTORS from his district just outside his D.C. office.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (IL-16) poses with a delegation of REALTORS from his district just outside his D.C. office.
A delegation of REALTORS from his district pose with Rep. Rodney Davis in the Longworth House Office Building
A delegation of REALTORS from his district pose with Rep. Rodney Davis in the Longworth House Office Building
Rep. Rodney Davis speaks with a delegation from his district, led by FPC Max Mitchell.
Rep. Rodney Davis speaks with a delegation from his district, led by FPC Max Mitchell.

Capitol as Seen from the Rayburn House Office Building

Illinois REALTORS Nykea Pippion McGriff and Maurice Hampton walking through a House office building on Capitol Hill, following their congressional visits.
Illinois REALTORS Nykea Pippion McGriff and Maurice Hampton walking through a House office building on Capitol Hill, following their congressional visits.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger
FPC Ed Neaves embraces Rep. Adam Kenzinger outside the Congressman’s D.C. office.
Rep. Danny Davis
Rep. Danny Davis speaks with a REALTOR delegation in his D.C. office

Rep. Danny Davis

Rep. Danny Davis

Rep Danny Davis

Matt Difanis, ABR®

Matt is a multi-office broker-owner in Champaign, Illinois, home of the University of Illinois. He is a high producing team leader, a past president of the Champaign County Association of REALTORS®, the 2016 Treasurer of the Illinois REALTORS®, a past REALTOR® Magazine “30 Under 30” honoree, and a law school graduate. Matt is also a photography and videography junkie.

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